Saturday night at the Portland Peace Encampment, I was discussing the Peace Camp's upcoming City Council testimony with several other member of the Camp. Because I was having severe back pain, I was sitting in a folding chair that I brought with me.
After several minutes, two Portland Police cars stopped in front of me and four policemen got out. Officer Greaves, badge #34586, told me they were seizing my chair as a violating their "Nothing Touching the Ground" standard of the Obstructions ordinance. I told them that the "Guidelines for enforcement of P.C.C 14A.50.030 - (Obstructions As Nuisances)" we had recently received from the City Attorney had nothing in about "Nothing Touching the Ground." I also told them I am handicapped and needed the chair. I produced my Tri-Met "Honored Citizen" card as proof and told them that I have a handicapped placard in my vehicle, which was parked in the handicap parking spot across the street. Officer Greaves also threatened to charge me with "Interfering with an Officer" until I told him that passively resisting a police officer is legal in Oregon.
This did not deter them. After giving me a property receipt for the chair, two officers grabbed me by the arms, pulled the chair out from under me, then dropped me. When I tried to get up, the pain was too great, so I lay back down. I requested they call an ambulance, but they refused. One of the other peace campers called 911 for me, but 911 hung up on me when they found out the police were already there. The 911 operator didn't seem to care that my injuries were caused by the police. The police finally called for medical assistance only after repeated requests. However, the police also refused to get me a blanket because by then I was shivering from lying on the cold concrete.
There are several witnesses to all of this, and to the back pain I had been having earlier in the day, including a paralegal worker with a law degree.
An ambulance finally arrived and they strapped me to a back board. They took me to St. Vincent's Hospital where I was diagnosed with a severely back injury. They treated and released me with orders for follow up treatments on Monday with my regular doctor.
I have been bedridden for most of the day Sunday, once the pain killers they gave me at the hospital wore off. I am able to sit for only short periods at my computer.
I have also been in contact with an attorney and intend to press this matter in the court. I will also discuss this when I testify at the Wednesday May 15th City Council meeting.