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Willamette Week Article Lame

Props to Deva, Spark, all you IMCistas, and Little Beiruiters!
What's up with the exploitation style cover on the current Willamette Week? Why is it that neither Willy Week nor the Mercury can write articles on "Little Beirut" protestors without 'cartoonizing' them? How many articles can be written from the point of view that protestors should always expect to be cannon fodder? Can there be any articles written in these so called legitimate papers that actually question police violence? A friend noticed that Willy Week articles put down protestors when they get 'violent' and then put them down when they don't make a 'ruckus' - so what are they supposed to do?

Towards the end of the main article they mention Deva pushes other reporters around - I think he was on KBOO this morning saying this was fabricated by the reporter - but how often do you see 'legit' reporters push each other around for pictures in Hollywood? Would you consider that censorship? The article also mentions Spark's shield he uses against corporate media cameras - can you consider the use of such a shield to really be censorship? What the hell is the agenda of the reporters for Willy Week? The agenda of the paper?

Arrgh, the article pissed me off. I just want to spread out my very humble thanks to all of you out there on the streets speaking out and making your own peace with yourself and the world around you by walking in stride with your truth! Keep at it! Its so inspiring! Many many thanks!
Good questions! 27.Mar.2003 12:44

A

These are some good observations.

Rather than the cartoon of Uncle Sam dressed as an anarchist, perhaps Willamette Week could have used a picture of the 10-month old baby and young children that Portland police pepper sprayed on August 22 when der fUhrer was in town shaking down the local republicans.

Budnick has seen these photos, as well as tapes of the inexcusable and deeply disturbing police riot that took place that day.

good point! 27.Mar.2003 17:03

thisisyourbrainondrugs

look at what he wrote, that prick

Red-Pepper Blues

BY NICK BUDNICK
_____

Last Thursday's visit by George W. Bush may have seemed like
a return to the bad old days of cop-protester clashes, but it actually represented a significant escalation of the Portland Police Bureau's crowd-control efforts.

On at least two occasions, police used red-pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse a mostly peaceful crowd behind
police barricades around the downtown Hilton, where Bush
spoke at a fundraiser for Sen. Gordon Smith.

When police wanted the crowd to move back, they would order
them to disperse, then start advancing. Many officers swept
their red cans of pepper spray back and forth, spraying
protesters and non-protesters alike--even some who were
attempting to comply with the order to disperse.

This represented a break from past police practice, in which
so-called less-lethal weapons have been used more
discriminately, typically against specific targets. Crowds were pushed back with batons and intimidation--not pepper spray.

Assistant Chief Greg Clark, who was in charge of this operation, told WW that police first used the spray at Southwest 5th Avenue and Taylor Street in response to the crowd blocking the entry of several reinforcement units, with protesters even jumping onto the hood of a police car.

But according to multiple sources as well as media accounts, the hood-jumping incident did not occur until after the widespread use of red-pepper spray.

Denise Stone, a citizens' committee member for the city's Office of Independent Police Review office, and two IPR staff members were pepper-sprayed while standing off to the side, observing. The three have reportedly told IPR Director Richard Rosenthal that they saw no provocation by protesters for the mass spraying. Similarly, other non-protesters told WW the crowd had been festive and non-threatening.

Another point of controversy is the degree of warning given. Assistant Chief Clark maintained that each mass-spraying commenced only after the crowd was given three to five orders to disperse or risk arrest.

But at 5th and Taylor, numerous bystanders and
non-protesters said they heard no warnings. "If there were any warnings, I did not hear them," says the IPR's Stone.

Beth English, a photojournalist with Channel 12, was taken to the hospital after an officer blasted her in the face from about a foot away. Speaking on her own behalf and not for KPTV, she told WW that she heard one warning, and only because she happened to be watching the commanding officer speak into the microphone. Others were hard-pressed to hear it thanks to a poor-quality police loudspeaker, she said.

"They were telling us to move--and there was literally no place for us to go," she says. "There was a throng of people behind us, and they were pushing us forward."

In 2000, after studying a clash between protesters and cops onMay Day, Chief Mark Kroeker issued a report saying that less-lethal weapons, such as pepper spray and rubber bullets, should not be used to break up crowds. Thursday's tactics seemed to violate that policy.

Kroeker also formed a Rapid Response Team to employ state-of-the-art crowd-control training. One RRT member, speaking on condition of anonymity, told WW that Thursday's use of pepper spray ran counter to the unit's training. "I heard
some guys saying, 'What is this bullshit?'" says the officer. "We had never trained with that tactic."

Among those pepper-sprayed were several kids, including the
10-month-old and 3-year-old children of protester Don Joughin.

Dr. Woodhall Stopford of Duke University, who has researched the hazards of pepper spray, told WW that pepper spray has been linked to serious injury and death. He says the danger is theoretically greater to children than to adults. "These sprays have never been evaluated for safety, period," says Stopford.

Because of its risks, red-pepper spray should not be used
indiscriminately on a crowd unless officers are in jeopardy, says Lt. Col. Ron Madrid, who teaches a class in less-lethal weaponry for the Marines at their base in Quantico, Va. "It's not like you use it as a water cannon, hosing everybody down," he says.

Assistant Chief Clark defended the use of spray as a "highly
effective tool." Asked about children subjected to pepper spray, Clark told WW it was their parents' fault for bringing them to the rally.

Still another issue was the use of rubber bullets, which
appeared to be fired into the crowd as it retreated on
Broadway near the Heathman. Clark, who initially denied the
use of rubber bullets at that location, said the bullets are only aimed below the waist and do not bounce once they hit the ground, instead skimming along at street-level.

But, in reality, all rubber bullets bounce, and therefore could take out an eye if used in an "uncontrolled manner," says Madrid.

Thursday's crowd was not blameless, but almost all the
misbehavior occurred after the first mass-spraying. Besides
pushing one cop to the ground, scrawling graffiti and slashing the tires of an Oregon State Police cruiser, protesters locked arms to block an entrance to the Heathman.
(Originally published Wednesday, August 28, 2002 )
 http://www.wweek.com/flatfiles/allstories.lasso?xxin=3109

Mercury isn't so bad 27.Mar.2003 17:32

t

They bought the burnside freestate free pizza! Their coverage was pretty good this week too. They talked about corporate media organizing and funding pro-war protests, they have been hammering the Portland Business Alliance, and last week had an article on direct confrontational action & its role in social movements.

Yeah right 27.Mar.2003 19:19

Sid

Taking pizza from the mecury is like taking pizza from dominoes; that paper is owned by two out of town companies that traffic in women-hating pornography. Don't be had so easily!

THE MERCURY IS EVEN MORE LAME 27.Mar.2003 22:37

JENN

Did you read the lame piece this week from some guy who thinks people who don't support the war are Anti-American because his brothr happens to be enlisted? Also, the editor of their mothership paper in Seattle has been beating the pro-war drum for months. Pathetic, pseudo-alternative crap. I'd rather eat pepper spray than eat their damn pizza.