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Take the guns away, before they kill again.

Portland Police are out of control. Shall we bury our heads in the ground and hope for the best?
I used to be the person at the party, sticking up for the Man. "The police are only doing their job. They are here to help. . . blah, blah, blah." I had never looked beyond the pages of the newspaper, to see why my primarily law abiding friends feared the police.
This was before being assaulted by the police at a peaceful demonstration, while trying to comply with their demands to leave the area. While nursing my wounds, I was forced to realize my stupidity, for trusting the police to respond peacefully to a peaceful situation. The police are out of control, and they have guns.

Now Kendra James is dead, and what are we going to do about it?

What threat did she pose. If she ran over an officers foot, that sucks, but why did they feel it neccessary to take her life in kind? An eye for an eye, a life for a foot?
I see very little information about what happened on mainstream media. Aside from a vague blurb, family info, and a short history of her former run-ins with the police, the "news" did not give much information about Kendra, or the final moments of her life.

IMC take the lead. Investigate, and plan to address the findings with mass demonstrations. The police shot and killed someone who as far as I can tell was unarmed.
Rodney King sparked a riot, and he wasn't left dead, with children weeping in the wake.

The madmen are armed.
Why? 13.May.2003 10:49


Why is everyone so suddenly distraught over Kendra James? I mean she in no way deserved to die, but it is not like she was a saint or maurder for a cause. Were the Portland Police wrong, more than likely, but she wasn't anything special. The police have killed before and will do so afterwards. I in no way want to seem like I am promoting what happened to Kendra, but seriously, what makes her so special? She is neither the first nor the last.

She's just a wakeup call 13.May.2003 12:10


at a time when more people are in a place where they can hear it.

uh, 13.May.2003 12:16

dj tubesteak

If an individual human life doesn't matter, then nothing does.

what is so bad about kendre james getting shot is... 13.May.2003 13:43


that she was a woman. The portland police can shoot as many men as they want to and no one in this town will care. But if you hurt or kill a woman then the whole town is foaming at the mouth to do something . The portland police are the most successful thugs in town. The reason they respond so vigorusly to any percieved threat is that for years now they have been mistreating the public and they know what they deserve in return. The Portland police are terrified.

ITS OK TO KILL COPS... 13.May.2003 14:44

The Black Asp

What would you do if you had a gun and a known criminal was trying to run you over with a car. Make no mistake, a car is just as dangerous as a gun if not more.

If their any cicumstances in which a police officer is justified in using a firearm in the field of duty this is one of them. Like it or not the police are the last line of defence in upholding the law, I have said it before and I will say it again: OBEY THE COPS OR BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU.

Would any of you be this vocal had she killed the officer, you will say yes but anyone who frequents this site knows the how the majority feel about cops.

A foot? 13.May.2003 14:52


The comment that all that would have happened is maybe a cop's foot would have been run over is patently false. Who's to say there would be no chance of one of the cops getting hit, or maybe another person on the sidewalk or in another car getting hit? And I'm pretty sure (though I'd need to check to be positive) that courts have ruled that a vehicle is a deadly weapon. Sure as hell they kill more people than guns do. So saying she was unarmed is also false.

As for the whole debate ... yes, it is tragic that Kendra James died. But it seems to me she made her choices. It's really not hard to *not* get shot by the police, especially in this circumstance. Sitting still and doing what the cops ask is a pretty good way to avoid getting shot (not surefire, especially in New York, say, but it's a good place to start). I mean, when a bunch of cops are pointing guns at you and telling you to stop and not drive away and not make sudden moves and you go and do all these things which they told you not to do with the implicit threat of force (guns) ... what exactly do you expect to happen?

I'm not saying the cops were right or justified in shooting her -- it may well turn out (however the review board rules) that they shouldn't have shot her. I believe that a lot of the times the police use more force than is necessary. But the fact remains that she made the choice to do what she did, and what followed was a result of the choices she made.

I know I'm going to get attacked for posting this opinion, and I hope there's some intelligent rebukes in with the flames, at least.

I feel pity for those who wrote the last two comments 13.May.2003 15:17


How about tuning in to Democracy Now online, Pacifica Radio, KBOO, Oregon Peaceworks, even reading some past articles from protesters on INdy media? You might learn something. We are at the epitome of the Patriarchy and anything that goes against imperialism and neoliberalism is seen as a huge threat. That is why so many women are now victims. We are in a Police State and its hard to see unless you truly educate yourself or live for years in another country. If you ever suffer an injustice by the police force or govt., you may wake up to the way things work here and change your mind. A right to different opinions is one thing, ignorance is another.....

some moderate 13.May.2003 15:20


So you're saying that she chose to get shot? Cause that's what it sounds like.

The whole point is that fleeing from a cop should not get you killed. It's not like they didn't know who she was or where she lived. She made a choice and she was murdered because of it. That's not a consequence no matter how much you might feel better to talk about it that way; it was a punishment from white male cops to a black female citizen. The police are not supposed to use lethal force unless their lives are in danger and trying to make that case in this circumstance is absurd. Someone fleeing from you does not ever present a danger yet many black citizens are shot in the back, why, "cause I was afraid s/he would circle round and kill me". Please, the police do it because they know they can get away with it; it's that simple. So please, if you want an inteeligent rebuke post something worth yof it, not claiming she dies as a result of the choices she made. She died because the cops chose to shoot her in an unjustifiable situation.

good discussion 13.May.2003 15:27


PDX Moderate; I won't attack you because there are consequences of a person's actions when they do not respond to a cops requests. Kendra made a bad decision. However, the police seem to be unable to handle some instances where they might be able to show restraint. I was not there and can not speak to the circumstances. Portland police have been involved in some questionable reactions, though knowing about other police forces, they are not unique. It's tough, police work is necessary and is very difficult. They deal with some truly crazed people and hesitation can mean death. However, the way they dealt with protestors appeared to be way over the top. I don't have all the answers. Kendra's death was tragic. I don't know her motivations. Many people are so sensitized and fearful of the police, their first reaction may be to flee rather than comply for fear of being unduly harassed by the police. I think there needs to be an open dialogue between the police and the community until faith is restored. However, this may be a pipe dream. Nobody seems to be willing to do anything to solve problems anymore. Our elected officials set a bad example for the rest of the country and the attitude just filters all the way down. Nobody gives a fuck. I hope I'm wrong.

how many of us have been victims of police brutality? 13.May.2003 15:59


Just out of curiosity - how many here have been victims of police brutality or harrasment? It's more common than you think, it goes against any kind of human rights, and is extremely humiliating and terrifying, especially if no one believes you or backs up the cops. WE pay their salaries, just as WE pay for the use of all public places, such as streets and squares.

Just a comment 13.May.2003 16:36

No one

People who respond or post here don't realize the contradictions they present in their philosophies. When one Cop goes astray (possibly) they want to disarm all police, but when a troll comes along and calls them dirty hippies, they whine about being lumped in one category. Im not defending the cop, I wasnt there. By the same token, Im not defending Ms. James either. But what bothers me is saying that all police are bad by the actions of one is equal to saying all protesters break the law and are not peaceful.

hey no one 13.May.2003 16:56


Where exactly are you reading that all police are bad? A call for a policy change has nothing to do with what people regard "all" police to be like. Personally, I disagree with the rotten apple theory; I prefer the rotten tree with perhaps a few good apples still clinging to it. Police shootings of blacks in cities are simply too numerous to explain away by anything other than systematic and symptomatic forces. As several police officers have told me, cops with integrity don't last long on city police forces, and if they do, they learn to keep their mouths shut. But I won't claim that all police are bad people and I haven't seen others claiming that (although I could understand people being angry and frustrated enough to do so, and I wouldn't hold it against them, even though I may not agree). There is something to be said about an organization, any organization, that does not hold its members accountable for gross misconduct. There is also something very damaging about closed social networks like the police because their ideologies become extremely resistant to change. That's why you have such blatant sexist, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, heterosexist, xenophobic beliefs so entrenched in the police force, because each entering officer becomes indoctrinated to this long history of police abuse. They call themselves a fraternity for a reason. They act just like one, new members come in and become indoctrinated and if they don't agree they keep quiet. Social psychology has shown us that those who remain quiet and acquiesce in their actions also soon acquiesce in their beliefs. They begin to think like the group. If you can find a good cop, talk to him or her about it; you may find it quite enlightening. I want to close that I agree with the point you're trying to make, which is simply that you can't judge any individual by the actions of a group, commonly referred to as stereotyping. That doesn't mean one has to refrain from analyzing and even criticizing the actions of the group, just to remember that each individual is just that, an individual.

Here and here and here........ 13.May.2003 17:18

No one

Wow, where did I read it? How about the very first thing in the original article.....

"Portland Police are out of control."
"This was before being assaulted by the police ...."
"I was forced to realize my stupidity, for trusting the police to respond peacefully to a peaceful situation. "

Notice how it is "The Police" and not a "Police Officer or Officers"?

Lets try it in a different context............."Portland Protesters are out of control"
"Portland Protesters attacked Police Officers on the Morrison Bridge"
I was forced to realize my stupidity for trusting the Protesters to remain peaceful"

I know I am only reiterating my original point which you have already ackowledged, but uh, I couldnt believe your question when I read it.

well, difference of interpretation 13.May.2003 17:44


Either that or we're arguing over semantics. I was thinking you were accusing people of saying "all police are bad". Saying that the police are out of control is not saying every police officer is bad. But, some of this is semantics and interpretation. To me, when I read "the police are out of control" means the system has broken down and people aren't being held accountable. To me, that says nothing about an individual police offcier, although one could make an argument that there does not appear to be any individual officers standing up to stop this.

To me, saying "This was before being assulated by the police" obviously doesn't imply all police unless you were assaulated by every police officer. To me, that means "This was before being assulted by some police officers." But perhaps I'm reading too much into it, in which case your point as I see it is that people should clarify their statements. And maybe that's a really good point since you obviously took things very differently than I did, but then who ever said language was an effiecent and effective form of communication.

I apprecaite your attempt at role reversal but I see things very differently. Afterall, the portland police department is an organization, therefore criticizing "the police" is criticizing the actions and policies of that particular institution. Therefore the statements are much more valid than those about protesters who are not part of an institution or organization (although they may belong to some or many organizations). Hence, "Portland Police are out of control" again, in my opinion is a critque of the organization, the institution, and not of the individuals. Critizing "protesters" is trying to apply a stereotype to a group of individuals without an organization or institution, without policies. The police may be a group of individuals but they belong to an organization, an institution which is not above criticism in its policies and actions. I know I'm repeating myself but I hope everyone realizes its only in an attempt to clarify the difference of interpretation. I'd be curious to know how other people interpretted this.

Theory 13.May.2003 18:41

Special Scientist

I've been trying to figure out why the police are so quick to kill black people (and other minorities). One reason might be that they know they will get a paid vacation, and that no one will hold them accountable. It's pretty sad. You have to be a corporation or a police officer to kill people and receive an award and some prize money. The rest of us actually have to refrain from killing people. Can you imagine?

SHE WASN'T ANYTHING SPECIAL!!???????? 13.May.2003 20:07

victim of police brutality

A 21yr old mother's death is at the hands of a police officer, what is the community going to do about it???
Kelso you were a jackass by stating in your comment that "she wasn't anything special IF she was your mom or your sister she would have been....oh wait a minute I hear your thoughts "that wouldn't of happened to my sister or mom" that wouldn't have been anyone you know because maybe a) they don't live in that neighborhood b) they are not poor c) they ARE NOT BLACK
If the car was a weapon then why weren't the keys taken from the car when they pulled the driver out. If Kendra was dangerous enough to be shot then why leave her in a car with the keys tempting her in the ignition (see metro oregonian)
I hear everybody when they say this is not just one thing but at least people are standing up this time why are we wasting energy complaining about other things when we all want basically the same thing. We don't want to live in fear...I myself am living in fear of the Portland PD so you say its not all police and i hear you but guess what somethings wrong with here and if its not all the police then we need to do some gardening and these trigger happy power hungery pigs have got to go and that is that. We all need to come together and say no more police brutality!! any ideas

Yes, she was special ... as everyone is special 13.May.2003 22:05


But, what got from Kelso's post was that her circumstances weren't unique or extraordinary. She is neither the first, not likely the last person to be killed by a police officer. That is not a good thing by any means, but we all know it to be the case. So, what causes this particular incident to be a flash point? At least, that's how I read it.

What I'd like to know comes from a nasty little suspicion I have. I believe I detect just a whiff of hypocracy here and there in all the clamor.

What I'd like to know is why so many people suddenly feel they're on a first name basis with this poor woman. I read a lot of comment about "Kendra didn't deserve to die" and "Kendra was attacked by the police" and "Kendra this" and "Kendra that". If she was close enough to be called by first name, how come no-one did anything to help her out before this tragedy?

Could it be that she is merely a convenient symbol ... being turned into a martyr for the cause? Could it be that some folks didn't actually care about her until her death made headlines and the blame could be laid right at the feet of "the pigs"? Could it be that those same folks don't actually cares about her now, except as a really great rallying point?

Why, yes ... I think it could.

And, I think that is even sicker than the police gunning down a citizen for a traffic violation.

That ought to be worth some flames too.

So Skate, 13.May.2003 22:19


In your opinion, what you view as 'a whiff of hypocracy', is as serious as the senseless execution of a human being?

whoa... 14.May.2003 00:56


a car is a dangerous weapon... ESPECIALLY if it's going down a street with a dead "driver". a cop would have to be a little bit dull to get a foot run over. when you see a person jump into the passenger seat, it's not very bright to keep your feet under the axis of the tires. people like that probably shouldn't have guns. while you're at it take away all their guns. it works fine in England. when a situation arises where guns are needed, a call is dispatched and the police keep their distance while the guns are coming to the site.

A simple fact. 14.May.2003 01:04

A Reasonable Person

A simple fact is that if Kendra James had stayed in the back seat of the car and followed the officer's instructions, Kendra James would be alive today. Maybe she would be in jail for her previous criminal actions, but alive. The simple fact is that Kendra James is dead because of a choice that Kendra James made. I do not think it is reasonable for a cop to have to wait to be hurt or killed to protect themself.

A Reasonable Person; A Simple Mind 14.May.2003 01:20

you haven't been reading

A simple fact is that if the cop hadn't decided to shoot a black woman that didn't pose a threat to him or the other officers Kendra James would be alive. One person did the killing and it wasn't Kendra James. It's simple, if the police actually followed the law they would only shoot when their lives were in danger. Sometimes there may be grey areas but this isn't one of them. This woman presented no threat to 3 officers. Any argument to the contrary is very simply denial.

A Person Incapable of Reason 14.May.2003 01:25


Kendra James is dead because of choices someone else made. She did not commit suicide, she was murdered. Sure, maybe if she stayed in the back seat she would be alive today. Tell me why she deserved to die because of her actions. Tell me how shooting an unarmed woman who is not attacking can be construed as protecting oneself. I find your lack of coherant reasoning ability troubling.

I have been reading 14.May.2003 01:26

A Reasonable Person

I have been reading, are you stupid enough to argue that had Kendra James stayed where she was, she still would have been shot? Kendra James made a choice that caused an officer to make a choice. Kendra James is dead because she made the wrong choice.

Wrong blame 14.May.2003 01:36


Kendra is dead because the trigger-happy officer made the wrong decision. She did not shoot herself. To posit otherwise is disingenuous.

Gollum, go chase your precious ring! 14.May.2003 01:42

A Reasonable Person

Let me explain this at your level:

Stay in seat, still alive.

agreed 14.May.2003 01:46

a sad thing

Kendra choosing to flee did not cause the officer to shoot her. But the officer choosing to shoot her did cause her to be killed. It is a sad thing that people believe it's ok for the police to shoot and kill a person because that person is running away. Perhaps it's time to re-examine your humanity.

To: A sad thing 14.May.2003 01:53

A Reasonable Person

I do agree with you that officers shouldn't just shoot at people running away. If Kendra James had gotten out of the car and ran, instead of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle that can kill, she might have out ran the cops and still be alive today. Once again, her choice, her consequence.

To those who say this was justified 14.May.2003 08:14


Some apologists have attempted to justify the police shooting of Kendra James by implying she was using deadly force by driving a car. I have a few things to say about that. First, this argument never flies when irate motorists drive into protesters. I have video footage of a motorist running into me and my camera during a political protest that blocked the street. Seems he was late for the big game or something. In the image, you can clearly see a line of police officers standing by watching as he did this, and no one shot him or in any other way questioned his action. On March 20th, a motorist ran into one of the protesters blocking the freeway and actually dragged him some distance. Again, there is video footage of this, and again, there were no police consequences. I watched a man in an SUV run into the leg of a comrade during another protest, and last week I watched a woman in a suburban charge forward and attempt to ram a friend as she crossed burnside in the crosswalk. Police were standing by both times. Many right-leaning people on this very site have criticized protests that block streets, and have said they would run protesters down and/or they feel others are justified in doing so. Now they're saying a woman deserved to die for using "deadly force" by driving a car that "could have" hurt someone?

On another note, I would like to point out that the police officer shot Kendra as she was driving away. What is safer? A woman driving away? Or a driverless car careening down the road with a dead person slumped behind the wheel? Which scenerio had more potential to injure innocent bystanders?

Finally, I would like to relate two stories. The first occurred during the May Day protest of 2000. Police, as you know, brought in horses, motorcycles and SUVs to put down a picnic in the park. Several people near me were stomped on by police horses. Did the people whose feet were crushed under the hooves of horses used as weapons have the right to shoot the officers in the chest? No more than any officer had the right to shoot Kendra James in the chest. The second incident was more recent. During a peace march last month, I watched a motorcycle cop ride his huge and speeding motorcycle down the sidewalk. He rammed the side of a man who had been walking on the sidewalk. The man was stunned and nearly fell, but the officer simply stopped for a moment, looked at him to see that he was still standing, and then sped away. Would this man have been justified in using deadly force against the officer? No. And neither was the officer who shot Kendra justified in doing so.

Please give these ridiculous arguments a rest. If you support the police and believe they have the unquestionable right to shoot people down in the streets, then just say so. If you simply feel we might not have all the facts, or whatever other argument you have, then say that. But don't try to justify the murder of a human being because she was driving a car that "might" have hurt someone. Please.

to "reasonable" 14.May.2003 08:32

and I question your reasonableness

One could as surely state that the officer on the scene made the choice to place his foot in harm's way, therefore he deserved to have it run over.

The fact of the matter is, the officer chose to gun a woman down in cold blood. He chose to commit murder, so he should go to jail. Kendra had no choice in this. I'm very sad to read that so many people feel she did, that because she had used drugs, or because she had a "record" that she somehow was unworthy of our attention and deserved to die. I wholeheartedly disagree. Many of us have skeletons in our closets that could be used against us in a situation like this. Shall we allow the police and other violent brutes to use these details against us and justify their violence? Or shall we stand up for each other and say no, that is NOT relevant here, that does NOT justify what you did, the ONLY thing that is relevant is the fact that YOU pulled the trigger.

to Bord 14.May.2003 08:37


"In your opinion, what you view as 'a whiff of hypocracy', is as serious as the senseless execution of a human being?"

I didn't say 'serious', I said 'sick'.

And, in a word ... yes. It's a callous hypocritical manipulation of this poor womans tragic death by some people for the sole purpose of furthering a politcal agenda. On a mass scale, people are outraged when they perceive Dubya as doing this ... there are even opinions that state he used the 9/11 tragedy ... manipulated it to further his goals.

On a small, mean scale, the behavior I'm seeing on the part of some people is no different. Not all people, by any means, but some. Her death is being celebrated by some who are raising all sorts of hell to inflame a situation to their own ends, but didn't feel the need to be involved before the tragedy to help this poor woman.

I particularly find the constant use of her first name a travesty. It's an unwarranted familiarity that should, in all decency be reserved for her family and those who actually knew her. For all others, common decency implies a respectful use of her full name ... thereby stating 'we didn't know her personally, but we're anguished by her fate'.

It is possible to take action against the circumstances leading to her death while still being respectful of her as a person. Rail against the police all you want ... it's certainly justifiable. But, don't defile Kendra James tragic end by making her a martyr for the cause ... that's nothing more than callous manipulation of a particularly vile nature.

Were I a parent whose child had a history of trouble and came to a tragic end, I'd be enraged at 'johnny come lately's who gathered around to manipulate that childs death for political gain.

skating on the edge 14.May.2003 08:53


Skate's admonishment to those who didn't come into Kendra's life soon enough, or who would "use" Kendra's death "to inflame a situation to their own ends" strikes me as disingenuous. What, after all, are "their own ends"? Bringing her attackers to justice and ending police brutality that has had this city under seige for far too long. What's wrong with that?

And how would people who didn't know Kendra James have come to her rescue before the fact of her demise? You're excusing police behavior because people didn't do enough to keep her out of that car in the first place? So, first you blamed Kendra because she made the "wrong choice" by trying to drive away, and now you blame people who never met her for not stopping her from trying to drive away? Why not place the blame where it belongs: at the feet of the cop who shot her. And, while you're at it, at the door of a system that allows police brutality and gives medals to those who shoot people of color?

Finally, Skate has contradicted his/her own argument by stating that people who don't know Kendra have no right to say anything about her death, but people who did nothing to help her before she got into that situation are as much to blame as the cop who pulled the trigger. Because the people who are fighting to bring light to this issue are doing so in order to prevent the next killing, which, if they did not do so, would be grounds for you to again state that no one should say anything because they didn't act soon enough.

Skate's argument is a useless attempt to paralyze those who would act to stop police aggression. "Shut up because you didn't speak out sooner."

to TI 14.May.2003 10:50


Clearly, you read little or nothing of what I wrote. The words you are attempting to put into my mouth weren't spoken by me. The statements you attribute to me are almost directly in contradiction to what I actually said.

My admonishment to those who didn't come into Kendra James life earlier was actually an admonishment of those who knew nothing of her until she was splashed across the headlines and then began to use her, to profess to know her, to bewail her tragic situation as if they were old friends. It's a shallow attempt at emotional blackmail ... a cruel usage of Kendra James and her family.

I am not excusing police behavior, I don't support the shooting, I don't support letting the police off for shooting her, I don't object to people fighting to make the police accountable for their actions.

And, I don't support using her as a pawn. Manipulating her tragic death to further a cause is vile.

Hold the police to accountable on the basis of the situation. It's more than horrific enough to stand on it's own merits without any additional spin. We should be viewing this on the basis of a police officer shooting a citizen. Who that citizen was should not be important ... any citizen being shot by the police for a traffic violation should be enough to horrify us.

Try again.

Here, let me try 14.May.2003 12:53

To skate

Skate. You're still speaking irrelevancies. You think it's "vile" to rally around a woman who was gunned down by the Portland police? Try taking your adjectives out on the people who violated this woman's very life, not those who weep for her. I don't hear people "profess[ing] to know her, ...bewail[ing] her tragic situation as if they were old friends." Instead, I hear people coming to the support of a downed comrade and demanding that police violence finally be stopped. What would you have people do? Would you have us all be silent (unless we knew the victim)? Would you have us do nothing? Would you have us ignore this woman whose life was taken from her so violently and so unnecessarily by the people sworn "to serve and protect" her?

skating on thin ice 14.May.2003 13:07

annie ony mouse

Forgive me if I have you wrong skate, but I'm curious. Who are you? Because you've been posting a lot of things on this site all of a sudden, and they all seem to be aimed at telling people to do nothing. Don't change the 911 system, don't blame the police for their violence, don't come to the defense of a woman murdered by police, don't make any waves, don't make any changes. Why not, Skate? Why do you seem to want people to do nothing?

Again, maybe I have you wrong. You don't come off like a troll or anything, because you actually do contribute thoughts to discussions, not just drivel like a troll would do. I can respectfully disagree with you if you're for real, but I am just curious as to why you're always apologizing for the system?

To Mr./Ms. skate 14.May.2003 13:22

Dr. bord

The outrage on this site regarding Bush and 911, comes not so much from his manipulation of the events for his own political gain, but rather from his GROSS INCOMPETENCE, or possibly even PASSIVE or INTENTIONAL
COMPLICITY in allowing the attacks to happen in the first place despite SPECIFIC FOREKNOWLEDGE and EXPLICIT WARNINGS from SEVERAL SOURCES, and susequently DOING NOTHING other than reading to school children while the hijackings were in progress; failing to scramble even one fighter jet to see what the hell was going on.

Now, your point about using Ms. James first name while discussing her situation may or may not have some validity, but it is certainly a minor point compared to the rising tide of unchecked police abuse, and it appears to me to be an effort to steer the debate in a different direction. Maybe you haven't noticed, but referring to people by their first names is becomming perfectly acceptable even in the formal workplace.

I did not personally know Carlo Gulliani either (the man shot to death by the police during the anti-corporate-globalization demonstrations in Genova, Italy). Despite that, I feel a kinship to this man as he was a brother in the struggle against GLOBAL CORPORATE DOMINATION, and fell victim to the INCREASINGLY RAMPANT POLICE ABUSES that are continuing VIRTUALLY UNCHECKED around the globe and RIGHT HERE IN MY OWN HOMETOWN. Violent criminals like Mark and Martey, and the rest of the clowns that abuse their entrusted positions apparently to boost their fragile egos, deserve encarceration rather than reward, and should be made examples of to send a message to crooked law enforcment officials that their PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR is unacceptable.

The streets of Portland would be FAR SAFER with no police at all, than with petty clowns like these, (no offense to you clowns out there).

You're still doing it ... 14.May.2003 13:31


"Instead, I hear people coming to the support of a downed comrade and demanding that police violence finally be stopped"

Leave the rhetoric out of it. All that is needed is the final statement "demanding that police violence finally be stopped".

She was NOT a "downed comrade". That implies that she was somehow associated with you and your political activities.

She WAS a woman who was tragically killed. It was done under very suspicious circumstance that I interpret as a police officer screwing up (to say the least). I do not believe the officer cold bloodedly gunned her down and I don't think she was a saint. But the officer did use extraordinarily bad judgement. And, saint or no, I don't think she'd done anything to warrant being shot, let alone killed. I think the incident should be carefully investigated and the police held fully accountable for their actions ... both the officer who fired and the department as a whole, with regard to their policies and training programs. I'm thrilled to hear that the FBI has been called in to help ... this should be turned over to an outside organization.

I've made no suggestions that anyone be silent unless they knew the victim. I have instead suggested that some people are acting and speaking as if the knew the victim when they had no right to imply such a thing and they are doing it because it sounds good. It's politically expedient ... too good a story not to be used as a weapon against the police force

"Those who weep for her" indeed. How many of "those who weep for her" on this site have gone to the trouble of seeking out her bereaved mother to offer help in this time of trouble?

You know what I'm saying and using the Socratic method to twist it around doesn't change the fact that there are those who don't give a damn about Kendra James, but are loudly beating drums about it only because it furthers their cause. I still find that kind of manipulation cold and sick.

poor skate 14.May.2003 13:44

you just don't get it

There's a whole community out here, Skate, that you know nothing about. Yes, Kendra James was my comrade. You see, out here, we stand by each other, we have each others' backs. We don't have to know each other personally to offer mutual aid, to defend each other from attack, to weep when the pigs shoot one of us down. Your attempts to cheapen the response of this community are more than disengenuous, they are, to use your word, vile.

No, I don't know what you mean, and I don't even know what the socratic method is. I only know that a woman has been gunned down by the pigs, and we all feel pain for her. Except you...you only feel self righteousness and indifference.

Annie ony mouse 14.May.2003 13:53


"skating on thin ice"

Cute ... I like that.

Who am I? I could hardly provide an answer in a few sentences. I suppose the most useful statement would be that I am one who has worked hard all my life to avoid 'black and white' judgements ... one who believes that there can be different, but equally valid approaches ... one who believes that your opinion can be different from mine without automatically being 'wrong'.

I don't see myself as an apologist, nor do I feel I've advocated a do nothing stance (except possibly on 911, but I saw that as trying to say the fix was needed in another part of the system ... small help in replacing your battery if the engine isn't starting because you're out of gas). Indeed, in the case of Kendra James, I've repeatedly said that I thought she didn't deserve being gunned down and that the police should be held accountable for it.

I guess the bottom line is ... I stated my opinion on the behavior of a self-serving few (note ... FEW ... not all) who seemed, to me, to be milking the situation. You're certainly not required to agree when I say, "Shame on you". Based on my reading on this site, stating opinions about things is a fairly common behavior. I suppose all I can say is ... if you don't like or agree with my thoughts, you could just write me off as a nut case and ignore me. I mean, no one is forcing a response.

what if she had goten away? 14.May.2003 14:49


The police will spin that she was going to run over the officer. Any reasonable thinking person will know that he could have gotten out of the way just as fast as he cold have pulled out his gun, aimed, and shot her. So obviusoly, he could have defended himself from being run over by non-lethal means.

It is a frightening situation when the police are wiling to risk lives or take lives in the course of a a minor traffic violation. Why not just let her drive off? They knew who she was, they knew where she lived, if they really wanted to bring in her on on some drug charge, just go swing by and pick her up another day.

Here is another thing. How many middle age whites get asked to get out of their rental car because they are not the registered owner? The whole reason these folks were even pulled over is likely because of their skin color.

I lived in LA both before and during the Rodney King riots. That was a town ripe for riot and no one was surprised the white cops had been beating and shooting black teanagers for years and it had too boil over. Now we have Kroeker in charge in Portland and it should not surprise any of us this ex-LAPD cop is now promoting an envirnment of corruption and brutality here. Kroeker MUST go, or predict that Portland will implode itself.

I understand 14.May.2003 16:58


Skate, I understand what your saying and agree with some of it. People who over-familiarize themselves with Kendra James now, but would never have had anything to do with her when she was alive are irritating. People who apply their values to a woman who is dead and can't even speak for herself are annoying.

But that's all they are, irritating and annoying.

To say that the only people who should object to her death are those who knew her when she was alive is taking it a bit too far. We should all care about, and object to the way she died, whether or not we knew her, cared about her, or agreed with her lifestyle. This is something that shouldn't have happened, and we should all try to make sure that justice is done, and that nothing like this happens again.

for anonymous 15.May.2003 00:38


I think I may have a better grasp of what Skate is saying than you do. He's not saying that you shouldn't object to her death--in fact, he so objects himself. I don't agree with him on this point, but unlike about 90% of the people posting here, I can at least understand what he's trying to say. so, let me put crystal clear for you people:

1. It's ok to be outraged/angry/sad/etc about the shooting death of Kendra James.
2. It's not ok to pretend you knew Kendra James before she died by using only her first name (unless, of course, you did know her in life).
3. It's especially not ok to use her death to further your political cause, which she likely had nothing whatsoever to do with.

Come on people, it's not all that hard.

manipulation 15.May.2003 01:34


Skate, you may find it vile that people are using the death of a complete stranger as a rallying cry against police brutality. On the other hand, as unsavory as it may be to place oneself in proximity with a person you'd have probably steered clear of in life, I would also say that at least any manipulating that's going on is going on for a good cause. And is it hypocracy? I don't think so. Those who oppose using a tragedy to manipulate for bad have every right to support using a tragedy to manipulate for good.

Is Gollum? 15.May.2003 02:36

Just Thinkin'

Is Gollum the most civilized person who posts here?


In Response to Neo 15.May.2003 02:53

Agreeing with Skate

What happened to Kendra James is bad enough on it's own. It doesn't necessitate manipulation. Certain kinds of manipulation can marginalize the real grief that is felt and the real injustice that occurs. It's like a hijacking. It's not a good thing, but it is something we have to live with unfortunately.

Hype beats right.

Railroading the point here 15.May.2003 11:13

PDX Citizen

Someone has been blathering on for two or three days now about how people are somehow being hypocritical and manipulative over the death of Kendra James because they are not expressing themselves in the same way that this person (aka Skate) would do. For example, people are using only her first name. Skate, if you look around on this site, you will find people often refer to pivotal figures whom everybody has heard of by first names only. I think you're misinterpreting it. In fact, you present yourself only as "skate," and do not seem to take notice when I call you by that name even though I have never met you.

Also, you are making blind assumptions about what people have/haven't, would/wouldn't have done for Kendra while she was living. You have no idea what you're talking about, you're only throwing out inuendo. I find that particularly offensive, since it seems to be aimed at quieting people who see this as another outrageous example of police brutality in Portland and are actually trying to do something about it.

Depersonalizing an event may be a way to distance youself from it, to feel a little safer and a little farther away, but it's not necessarily an indication of honor any more than personalizing it is. I think you admonishments ring hollow, as they merely seem to be an outlet for your own personal political disagreements with the people whom you are trying to denigrate.

More offensive still, you appear to be attempting to derail a soul-searching debate about police brutality in Portland by throwing doubts upon the character and motivation of the very people who are actively trying to do something about this pervasive social problem.

The real point of this story is, and should be, the fact that Portland police officers murdered a woman in the streets in an all-too-common misuse of lethal force. Further, whether you like it or not, Skate, it's a story about a woman's life. She was more than a first and last name, more than a statistic, more than the demonized "inner-city drug addict" many have attempted to flatten her into. She had a life that was worth something, and people who loved her, and now she is gone because of an unforgivable act of police aggression. One doesn't have to know her personally in this huge and impersonal society to recognize the humanity that is now lost, and the reason why.

Yes, the police would love it if their critics could be easily divided and silenced in the manner that you propose. But we are, after all, a community. And although you seem to be somehow insulated from the fact of this community, we do care about each other even in these times of anomie. And we will stand together when the forces of the police state act as they have in this situation and in so many others.

what truth? 15.May.2003 14:03


you're right, manipulation is something we have to live with. i'd prefer not to but that's not reality. what is reality is that those who manipulate this are trying to do something about police brutality. i think that's good, and i also think that many of those "manipulators" would strenuously object to how we've labelled them.

but all that aside, police brutality sucks. i think it's good that it's being fought. i don't think it has marginalized the grief and injustice of Kendra's death. not protesting her death at all, nobody showing up... that would be a far worse thing.

Agreed 15.May.2003 17:25

Agreeing with Skate... I mean Neo... I mean both...

I agree with you Neo.

I' m tempted to say 16.May.2003 09:30

The Redcoat

Let the investigation take its course.


There have been a lot of questionable decisions made about police conduct.

The police officer was standing at the side of the vehicle.

He pulled his weapon.

Me, if I think something large is going to injure any part of my body, I get as far out of the way of it as possible.

Since the officer had enough time to pull his gun, he had enough time to get out of the way.

In fact the officer was not struck by the car.

Therefore, he got out of the way, AND pulled his gun.

Why would the officer pull a gun and shoot? Why, because of the principle of pre-emptiveness.

The principle floats around in everyones head. The highest leader in the land sold it to us, and we have seen an example of what it means. This idea, floating free and repetitious inside the officers' head, jumped into action and took over and the crucial moment.

and history has been made.

Adding to what PDX citizen said 16.May.2003 11:01


I think the people who are speaking out on behalf of Kendra James and other victims of police violence have done, and would have done, much more for Kendra than "skate" ever did or would have done. It's all very well to sit around in your easy chair and theorize about how much better other people could be, but it's a lot different to actually get off your ass and do something yourself.

Good Question.. 03.Jun.2003 15:22


Good question, about getting off your ass. How many of you people have volunteered with the police department? How many of you have ever put yourself in the danger they do? And I don't mean climbing trees and blocking traffic and bullshit like that...I totally respect your right to protest and admire your dedication to your cause...but my point is, how many of you have ever been in the situation these cops are in? It is very frighteneing to be in a situation where you are trying to do good for people, but they would just as soon kill you. You don't know who your friends are and who your enemies are until it is too late.

You see, I have been on both sides of the badge. I have pointed a gun at a man that was in a car (and had already fired a shot earlier). And I almost had to shoot him and kill him. Afterwards, I was so glad I didn't have to, but as I read this I have to ask...what if I had? Would I have had a whole city full of do-gooder vultures decending on me at a time when I was mourning the decision I had to make? Or would it be ok because the crook was a middle class white guy?

I had the pleasure of knowing the Sergeant that was shot in the face in January, and is still recovering. He is a gentle man, who dealt with this distraught mental case teenager in a manner worthy of respect. And he got a .45 slug in the face for it. Is it any wonder that some of my comrades begin to think that "only the good die young"?

So let's tone down the rhetoric and try to understand the points of view on both sides. Yes, it is tragic that this woman was high on coke (probably crack) and made a stupid decision, and it cost her her life. That is unfortunate. But you don't know what it is like to stand in a crappy neighborhood full of killers, next to a car full of who knows what weapons, and try to pull a drug crazed person from that vehicle while it is trying to move. Getting out of the way is not always an option. Maybe there was someone else in front of the car that he was protecting. There are a host of things that could justify this shooting, and because grand jury testimony is sealed, YOU DON'T KNOW IT. The grand jury did, and they aren't part of the "system" (believe me, I have testified in front of them, they are just ordinary people trying to do a job).

All the armchair quarterbacking about he could have done this or that is a pile of bovine scat - you weren't there, cut the guy some friggin slack. I guarantee he wasn't out looking for some black person to shoot, and I guarantee that he probably went home that night and wept. He was doing his job, trying to protect those same poor minorities some of you think he was out to hunt. Your attacking him with no evidence other than conjecture and anectode and how it "seems" only exacerbates the problem, and lets the police know that they are not appreciated.

Sorry about the length of the post.

to sanmarco 04.Jun.2003 09:53


Yeh, it's really frightening to be facing down an unarmed black woman while you have a gun in your hand and 2 buddies at your back. That was real courageous of officer McCollister, shooting down an unarmed woman and then lying about it to a grand jury.

No evidence? Bullshit. A woman is dead. That's some pretty substantial evidence. Not much you could say to justify that.

More to the point, it was NOT this woman's decision that caused her death, it was the stupid, he-man fucking cop who killed her. Blaming the victim is a classic tactic of the oppressor. I'm not surprised to hear it coming from an ex-cop.

You really make me sick.

Especially this crap here: "But you don't know what it is like to stand in a crappy neighborhood full of killers, next to a car full of who knows what weapons, and try to pull a drug crazed person from that vehicle while it is trying to move. "

Oh? Some of us LIVE in that neighborhood. And it isn't crappy to us, it's just under seige. By shitheads like you, patrolling the streets at 3am, shooting unarmed black people to death because you can.

Fuck you. If it's so scary for you to be out there with guns and ammo, facing down scary black people, then get another fucking job. We don't want you, we don't need you. You're a danger to yourself and others.

Victim mentality 03.Jul.2003 18:44


When Kendra James responsibility for what happened is discussed a more valuable lesson can be learned. Her poor life choices resulted in a warrant for her arrest. It was her decision to flee with a cop hanging off the side of the vehicle. Community leaders insisting on calling her an innocent victim teach our youth that it's O.K. to break the law and run from police. Why not point out that bad things can happen as a result of the poor decisions people make. Granted, the police seem like they could have handled this situation better and every life including Kendra's is precious. Just stop overlooking the so called "victim's" responsibility in the matter to enable your crusade against the police.

Tragic but tough luck 31.Jul.2003 15:47


I agree with the comments that your best chance of survival in a situation like this is to put your hands in the air, listen very carefully to what your told, and say yes sir and comply to everything you are told. If you feel like your rights are being violated you can sort it out later when your in a better position to do so. If you are to proud or to stupid to realize that any person pointing a gun at you means business then don't be surprised when you end up dead. You have the God given right in this country to walk down skid row in East L.A. at 12.00 AM on a Friday night with hundred dollor bills hanging out of your pockets if you want to , but your probably going to get your throat cut. You have to be smart enough to know when the odds are not in your favor and make the right choice then tough luck.