Activist beat up by police
Early in the hours of May 10, an activist was assaulted by two Portland police officers as he walked home alone. He was detained without reason, cuffed, peppersprayed repeatedly and roughed up. This was only the latest incident in a pattern of abuse by police toward activists that mimics the treatment people of color have gotten for much longer.
The activist is an 18 year old male who has been harrassed or arrested by the police on several other occasions. None of these cases was related to an actual criminal act, and all have been cases of targetting someone for their appearance, wardrobe, or percieved political beliefs. He was walking home alone, wearing all black, with headphones on when he caught the police cruiser out of the corner of his eye, near 39th & Hawthorne. The vehicle's cop lights came on and they stopped him. Besides requesting his ID, the cops also asked him if he was "an anarchist". He did not answer this or other such questions, saying that he didn't have to.
As we've seen time and again, a lot of cops hate it when people assert their legal rights like this, and they responded by cuffing him with metal handcuffs and pepperspraying him in the face. He screamed with pain, and became very emotionally agitated by the pepperspray, which is one of its intended effects. They went through his backpack (which contained nothing illegal). Shortly thereafter, they knocked him to the ground and pepperprayed him again. His face was cut up during this process, as well as bruises to the shoulder, pelvis and knee. As the cops brought him to the cruiser, they peppersprayed him more, and the spray got into the open cuts on his face.
In jail, he recieved no medical attention and was offered food only once during the twelve hours they held him alone in a cell downtown. They fingerprinted him, took mugshots, and did not offer him the opportunity to make a phone call. They also clipped off all his bracelets, wrecking them. During questioning, his eyes were shut tight from the pepperspray, and he couldn't open them. When they released him, they kept his backpack, which had his bus pass in it so he had to walk home. He was able to pick up his belongings the following business day, but his CD player was missing, and a "Copwatch Incident Report" (for documenting police abuse) was moved from his wallet to his jacket pocket. I assume this last detail is some cop's snide idea of irony, and is another way of intimidating him.
He has been charged with Disorderly Conduct (ORS 166.023) and Escape III (ORS 162.145), which carry maximum fines of $1500 and $2800 respectively. For being targetted, harrassed and beaten up by the cops. Where the fuck is the justice in that? As I mentioned earlier, non-white communities in the U.S. have long suffered such treatment, so this is nothing new. I guess hearing about this incident affected me strongly because I know the person and saw the fresh bruises only a little more than twenty four hours after they were inflicted. Poor guy. It really sucks.
His trial is coming up in a couple weeks and he plans to ask for a court-appointed attorney. That will likely result in a rescheduled first date later in the Summer.
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It's important for people to be reminded that this is not unusual police behavior, and that this type of incident has been occuring with increasing frequency over the last couple years and in the last few months as political activism has come under greater attack from the state. Corporate fascism is on the rise with frightening rapidity at the moment, and we can probably expect more of this abuse if we keep resisting. We must continue to tell these stories to each other, so that more people see and hear about what happens and can become awakened to the new emerging reality. This is Germany in the 30's all over again, and we are witnessing first-hand how Hitler was able to get away with the shit that he did: a brainwashed population wouldn't face up to the reality in front of its eyes. Let's not let that happen here. Post your stories about police abuse here to indymedia, and find other venues for sharing them.
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