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Portland Police Send Man from Portland Peace Encampment to Hospital

Police Send Disabled Peace Protestor to Hospital

Vigil keepers at the Portland Peace Encampment at SW 4th Avenue and Main Street across from City Hall were visited by five Portland Police Bureau officers at 8:30 in the evening on Saturday, May 10. Before they left the scene, where they came to take the few possessions of the peace campers, police had to call EMS and fire personnel to transport a man to the hospital.

Andy Seaton, a disabled peace demonstrator and contributor to Portland Indymedia that has been an integral part of the organized Encampment effort to protest peacefully against the wars of the Bush administration, refused to relinquish his folding chair when one of the officers present commanded him to do so.

Seaton, who has a documented history of back problems and was wincing in pain moments before police arrived, told officers that he needed the chair because he could not stand for long periods of time. Seaton then showed the officers his Honored Citizen Tri-Met bus pass and other documentation of his condition. His vehicle, with a handicapped parking tag hanging from the rearview mirror, was parked in a handicapped space across the street.

After being shown documentation in support of his need for a chair to sit in, three officers attempted to push Seaton out of the chair and later lifted Seaton to a near-standing position before removing the chair and letting him go. Seaton then fell back into the street and, after a few moments, asked for help in standing.

When he was unable to stand with assistance from nearby peaceful demonstrators, Seaton asked that 911 be called on a cell phone. The 911 dispatcher, on learning that the call was from the Peace Encampment and that police were on the scene, told Seaton to deal with the police and ended the call. After speaking again with Seaton, who remained lying on his back on the sidewalk, an officer on the scene called 911. An ambulance and fire truck arrived a few minutes later.

Emergency Medical Service and fire personnel placed Seaton on a backboard and transported him by ambulance to the St. Vincent Hospital Emergency Room, where he was treated for a back injury and released.

During their visit to the Peace Encampment, the officers confiscated Seaton's chair and the personal possessions of other demonstrators present.

Peace Encampment Targeted by Police Bureau Night Shift

Peaceful demonstrators have maintained a 24-hour per day protest between City Hall and the Federal Building in downtown Portland for 51 days since the United States intensified bombing in Iraq and invaded the country on March 20. During that time the Encampment has become a favorite target of the Portland Police Bureau.

Twenty-four hours after police posted a notice declaring the Encampment an illegal campsite in April, a large number of mainstream media visited the site to cover the return of the police to clear the camp. The police failed to show during the day with media present. Since that time, however, police have visited the site on several occasions during the early morning hours, under cover of darkness, to harass the demonstrators and confiscate any property that could not be held by the people present.

When asked why they continue to harass the Peace Encampment, which has peacefully complied with all requests by law enforcement since the beginning of their protest, police respond that they are merely following orders to enforce Portland's Sit-Lie ordinance. The ordinance, enacted without public input by the mayor and City Council after Mayor Katz promised that community comment would be heard, prohibits the blocking of public sidewalks except under certain conditions. The Encampment, however, has ensured that the sidewalk along SW 4th Avenue remains unobstructed at all times, even putting down duct tape to mark the boundary. The demonstrators believe that the police are using the Sit-Lie ordinance as a pretext to intimidate them for practicing their Constitutional right to free speech.

Thus far, police have failed to cite or arrest anyone at the Encampment for refusing to comply with the Sit-Lie ordinance, opting instead to repeatedly confiscate property and leave the scene.

Peace Encampment to Address City Council on Wednesday, May 14

Well before Saturday's incident involving the injury of Andy Seaton, several members of the Encampment, including Seaton, had signed up to speak before the Portland City Council at the council's weekly meeting at 9:30am on Wednesday, May 14. They intend to explain to Mayor Katz and the council why the Encampment exists. They also will ask why they have been repeatedly targeted by the Police Bureau and what it will take to end the harassment.

Peace Encampment Needs Video or Digital Camera and Police Scanner

The Portland Peace Encampment has a real need for a video or digital still camera to document the harassment they are receiving from the police bureau, often in the late night or early morning hours when no other witnesses are present. They could also use a police scanner. Anyone who has access to such tools and is able to donate them to the Encampment is encouraged to drop by the site at SW 4th Avenue and Main Street, 24 hours per day.

bad idea 11.May.2003 06:33


the police scanner thing is a very bad idea. and easily could bring things to a felony charge not a criminal mischief. aswell they don't really talk about the camp over the radio anyway.

video surrveilance 11.May.2003 11:28


don't forget--all activity at peace camp (if it's still in front of city hall) is taped by the three cameras secured on rooftop and doorway of city hall.
has vera taped pigs brutalizing campers? demand tapes from city.

felony police scanner use? 11.May.2003 13:03


so now it's a felony to own and use a police scanner? gimme a break.

it is true that the police tend to avoid use of the regular radio when they are violating the constitutional rights of the people of portland, but it is in NO WAY illegal to use a police scanner to listen to the radio traffic that goes across it. if the scanner happens to broadcast that the police are planning to visit your peaceful, legal demonstration, so be it.


i hardly think oregonlive.com is a felon 11.May.2003 13:23


If use of a police scanner were a crime, oregonlive.com would be a felon, since they stream local scanner traffic across the Internet.

In other states it is 11.May.2003 14:03


In a couple of states it is a felony. NJ is one. Like radar dectectors, each state makes their own laws about it.

peace_vigil_icon 12.May.2003 00:04



911 needs a review 12.May.2003 07:17


How many times have people been injured by the police, and then been unable to receive assistance because 911 operators told them they had to deal with the police??? I was at an action where three people were pepper sprayed, and one of them was having a serious reaction to it. Someone called for assistance, but the operator told them they wouldn't send an ambulance unless the police called them. And then the police officer on the scene -- the one who had done the spraying! -- refused to call. (That was Marty Rowley, by the way.)

I heard that the parents of the baby who was pepper sprayed during the bush protest last summer also tried to get a paramedic, but were told by the 911 operator that no help would come until the police calmed down from their warrior mode and called 911 instead of the parents.

This is bullshit! The 911 system should in NO way be connected to the police state.

When I lived in another state, I once saw the police beating and harrassing a woman who lived near me. She was very intoxicated, and they came and started making fun of her, then taunting her to go somewhere else -- how was a woman that drunk, who had locked herself out of her mate's apartment supposed to go somewhere else safely! When she began to scream and cry, they started beating her. I called 911 for help, because it was all I knew how to do. The woman on the phone chided me when she heard the victimizers were the police. She told me this wasn't an emergency, and then hung up on me.

Man, when the police state turns on you, you're really alone. Who do you call when the police are beating you up? Not 911, they will just tell you to have the police officer call for you, if he thinks it's important.

Hold the 911 system accountable for this! They're great in every other situation, but they SUCK when there's police involvement. We need some kind of overhaul to this system.

Hold the phone! 12.May.2003 08:33


"Hold the 911 system accountable for this!"

No way!!

911 is designed to function in a dispatch role. Their purpose is to get appropriate response services to an emergency as rapidly as possible.

They are NOT to waste time on value judgements regarding the political acceptability of the response team. If nothing else, that would slow them down. If you have a fire, you want 911 to get the fire department on site quickly. You do not want them trying to decide if the firemen will do more damage to your home than the fire itself.

If you have a problem with the police, the appropriate response is to deal with the police, not to blame 911.

Who u gonna call? 12.May.2003 09:51


Yes, we do need to look into the 911 response when p0olice are involved. Contrary to popular (though increasingly less-popular) belief, the police are not always the good guys. We can't have the 911 operators discounting people's cries for help and relying on the police to help.

Skate, as you said, "911 is designed to function in a dispatch role. Their purpose is to get appropriate response services to an emergency as rapidly as possible.

They are NOT to waste time on value judgements regarding the political acceptability of the response team. "

You're right on this. They should NOT be wasting time on value judgements regarding the political acceptability of the people calling for help. But that's exactly what they're doing when they dismiss a call by a civilian and tell them they will need to have the police call.

Too many people have been injured and had to wait for the police to be approached and to decide to call. In the case of people being pepper sprayed: that stuff can be deadly. When a person is having a reaction to it, they need help immediately. Have you ever tried to approach a police line while they're screaming "MOVE BACK!" and spraying gas at people? It's no easy task. The idea that we need to put ourselves through this, or that the cops would even stop long enough to listen let alone dial a phone is nonsense.

Yes, the 911 operators should be held accountable every time soneone is injured because they weren't in the right occupation when they made the call.

I agree that 911 operators do a tough job, and I appreciate (under most circumstances) the job they do. But I, too, have seen incidents where they refused to send help under the misguided assumption that the police would call if it was a "real" emergency. I watched an older man begging a cop -- yes, it was Rowley -- to call 911. Someone in the crowd had called, and been told they would not respond unless a cop called. Someone needed help, but the cop refused. He just stood there snorting and looking the other way. The man then began berating him, telling him it was his job to call, and that Mayor Katz would be interested to hear how he didn't call, and etc. After the man made it clear he knew his rights, Mr. Rowley finally non-chalantly took out his cell phone and began leisurely making the call.

Do you really want to have to rely on Marty Rowley to help you in an emergency? I know I don't.

I really believe you're mistaken ... 12.May.2003 10:25


"But that's exactly what they're doing when they dismiss a call by a civilian and tell them they will need to have the police call."

They are NOT evaluating! They are leaving that to the response unit on the scene. The system is intentionally designed that way.

911 is a dispatch operation that is designed to facilitate getting a response team (fire, police, ambulance, etc ...) on site as quickly as possible. They evaluate only in the sense of trying to get the appropriate type of response on site. Their overriding concern is, and should be, response time.

Once a response team is on site, 911 steps out of the picture, as is appropriate. As with all such systems, evaluation of further action is the role of the people on site. They're in the best position to judge what else might be needed, not someone on the other end of the telephone.

We can certainly question the police handling of an incident, but 911 is spot on in fulfilling their role. They did exactly what they were supposed to do ... ensured that a response team was present and then stepped back out of the way.

Blaming 911 risks aiming reform efforts in the wrong direction ... shooting the messenger rather than dealing with the real problem, which is the response team on site and how well they handle the incident.

Wake up, skate 12.May.2003 11:26


Haven't you been listening? Picture this. The police are beating you up. You're bleeding, you're having trouble breathing. A bystander can see that you need help right away, calls 911. The operator tells the witness, "Sorry, you can't call for help for this person. Since the police are there, they need to call." Meanwhile the police are not calling! In fact, they continue the beating. And then, when you collapse, they try to cover the whole thing up by stuffing you into a squad car and driving away to the jail, where you mysteriously "fell down the stairs or something."

Is that really what you want? As you say, "The system is intentionally designed that way." Yes, we can see that. It was designed, in this instance, in a faulty manner. It needs to be looked at. Why are you so opposed to the idea of correcting an obvious flaw in an otherwise exemplary system?

One of the problems with the 911 system is that it was designed under the erroneous assumption that the police are always there to do good, to be your friend and superhero. Can it be more obvious that this is not the case? What DO you do when the cops are beating someone up? You can't call 911 -- they have to do it.

Do you remember awhile back when the police beat a man to death in their custody? (I know, which time. But I'm referring to the guy who owned the restaurant near the Morrison Bridge. What was his name again?) As you can see, the police are never eager to call attention to their unnecessary use of force by bringing their victims to emergency rooms in a timely manner.

If I'm being assaulted by a police officer, damn it, I want a witness to be able to summon help on my behalf. Not only that, but if I need help, I want it to arrive in a timely manner, not after witnesses hunt around and finally locate a cop who is willing to make the call. We can either fix this flaw in the 911 system, or we can organize similar to the Black Panthers, who began assiting each other in the face of police violence. Personally, I think both would be a good idea.

Lasso 12.May.2003 11:50


The fact that I don't agree, don't fall into line with your thoughts, doesn't mean I haven't been listening. I'm merely pointing out that I think the problem lies in a different area and our efforts would be better spent trying to fix that than trying to repair something that is working just fine ... 911.

Suppose that 911 did respond as you suggest. Suppose they immediately send an ambulance into the middle of a crowd scene. Do you think the ambulance will get through? The police will stop it too.

The problem is not 911 ... it's the police!

Good 12.May.2003 12:09


Good to know you have been listening, because it didn't seem like it. Didn't mean to be snotty. As for sending an ambulance into a "crowd scene," they do that all the time. Yes, it's more convenient if a crowd isn't there, but when a person needs help, they still need to go into crowds from time to time. The point is, they should take the word of the first person who calls and not make that person find a police representative first, especially if that representative is busy waving a cannister of pepper spray at people.

IndyMedia Techs ... New thread? 12.May.2003 12:26


You know, this discussion is going on simultaneously in two threads.

Perhaps I'm giving myself airs, as I seem to be the only one who's supporting 911, but the discussion seems to have tapped a wellspring of opinions and feelings.

Is there some way to combine the two threads into one ... perhaps under it's own topic? I'd try it with cut and paste, but I fear I'd either screw it up or end up with 3 threads.

sorry skate 12.May.2003 12:34


You'll have to make due, although you could propose people talk only in one thread or the other, of course, people are free to follow your suggestion or not. Indymedia is not a message board, it's an independent news source and as such, we can't take liberties to allow for the discussions that take place here. You're talking about 2 distinct news stories and as such they will have their own discussions. You could start a 3rd thread to discuss things, it does happen (See the discussion on taxes for example). Of course, again, since this is a news site and not a discussion board if too many disucssion threads pop up they may be removed to keep the news content visible (not that this has happened except in cases of spamming to the best of my knowledge). Anyway, do whatever you think is best and sorry we can't help.

to pdxtech 12.May.2003 13:07


Well, it was just a thought ... thanks anyway. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

36 x 36 icon jpg 12.May.2003 15:18

36 x 36 icon jpg

36 x 36 icon jpg

grow the bureaucracy 12.May.2003 21:48

sage brush

given the oft repeated scenario here--911 watchstander not dispatching emergency personnel to activity where police are present, especially in "riot" mode, unless one of the same police make the request--suggests that a third component of public safety needs to be on scene. this would be a component that is both NOT part of the police "work" on the scene and is acceptable by the 911 dispatcher as an authorized caller for an emergency crew.

that is, when the police and civilians start to mass, why wouldn't that call for a number of "authorized" emergency 911 callers also be on scene. they would not be cops, but could be public employees associated only with emergency response to matters of injury. they could have "badges" or similar recognizable ID that the the 911 dispatcher would accept. the 911 dispatcher wouldn't be dependent on the whim of an overwrought, wrongly-employed cop to "authorize" the arrival of an health emergency team. as public health and safety persons (like EMTs) they would be expected to be "neutral" on the scene, responsible to respond to health and injury emergencies. they wouldn't be first aid folks, only "authorized" to call 911. they might be "emergency on call EMTs", on overtime, but with no emergency gear with them--only cell phones. their presence would be not unlike the legal observers.

I can see that there are issues here of personal risk, but there might be a category of EMT that can handle that. discounting some agent provacateur mischief or overwrought civilian miscreant, I would think that the civilians at the event would see the "911 person" as a friend and leave her alone--indeed look after him! there would probably be more to worry about from the jazzed up cops.

compliments to all on the serious attempts to address this issue.

Use the power of enrollment 15.May.2003 11:16

bob miller

I believe that the bullshit is that the complant is being presented to the wrong people. Any time you make someone wrong, they will put there guard up. But what if you didnt make them wrong, and you just made them more aware? In order to do this, we will have to get rid of are own agenda for the betterment of the cause that we want people to be more aware of. Thats why vigilantism and the high jacking of different agendas, marches and sit ins are not reguarded as credible. Am i saying the poliec are right? Am i saying the peaceful protesters are right? NO im saying maybe there is another way.

Bob Miller