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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.

* * *

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.

Resist Fascism & Racism
Reject Police Abuse
Educate, Love, and Fight

excellent story 22.May.2003 23:52

Green Snake

Good job posting this story and following up on it. These stories need to get out to show people what the police really are.

Typical police behavior 22.May.2003 23:59

Call the Cops? no thanks!

This is typical police behavior. The few decent cops turn a blind eye towards this sort of thing which happens all the time. I am disgusted by all the things I have seen cops do and at this point I would be extremely hesitant to call them under most any circumstance. I no longer have any trust of police.

no way 23.May.2003 02:34


No way--they put METAL handcuffs on him? I thought the cops used the plastic drug store variety. Shit.

In other news, you guys are lost in your own little world. Why is it that whenever anyone posts an anti-police article, there are several comments after it that are "right on, fuck the police," and no comments saying, "Hey, maybe this guy really was a shithead and deserved to get arrested"? I'm quite honestly sick and tired of listening to this bullshit, to which, of course, some snide person will reply, "Go get your news somewhere else." I could do that, and I will, as soon as that snide person takes their comments to a different country.

Thanks for the story 23.May.2003 02:46


Are there any video cameras at 39th and Hawthorne? I know there is a Washington Mutual right on the corner. It's a long shot, but if there was video it could really suppot his case.

Were there any witnesses to what happened? Did the entire event occur on the corner? If that's the case someone saw something, that corner is very busy. Again just a thought.

Most cops are aggressive by nature and trained in violence as a job skill. Thanks for taking the time to stand up and tell you're story in spite of their threats, violence and stupidity. You are the hero.

There is a problem........ 23.May.2003 04:28

Ilio Manzetti

The sores on his knee cap are at a different stage of healing the the scrapes on his hip and arm. The big sore looks like it could be infected. Possibly a "track-mark," herpedic lesion, or maybe he just fell off his bike. As far as getting "beat-up," I don't gather that from this photo. I mean, who hits someone on the shoulder?

He probably fell off his bike or something.

Strange 23.May.2003 06:53


I'm sorry this has happened - and continues to happen.

I was reading the Portland Observer yesterday - and each week they post a "crime stoppers" ad - usually showing the face or faces of criminals - and usually violent. This week they had two protesters there. A white female and male - and it didn't state their crime. It said they were only known as jane and jon doe. They are wanted because they didn't show up for court. The article stated that - they had been arrested during the recent war protests downtown - but didn't state the charges.

One can only assume - that their arrest was for something minor - (or bogus bullshit charges all together) - I seriously doubt if they were raping and murdering people during the marches.

With all the budget cuts - and the fact that unless you are booked on a violent crime - they aren't giving you a court appointed lawyer - and charges are reduced to a fine - WHY are they looking for these two? Why are they spending money on ads? And most of all - why would the Portland Observer allow them to place such a silly-assed ad in their publication?

I sat here and thought about it - after seeing the ad. And I could only come to one conclusion. They are trying to stop dissent. PERIOD. What else could it possible be?

What? 23.May.2003 07:06

Den Mark

What's with "mE" saying there is "no way" that cops could've used metal cuffs. He thinks that since cops carry plastic ties to protests that they've thrown away their metal cuffs? There goes this guy's credibility. Then he finishes by setting up a statement that nobody made & tearing it down. Bizarre. There are bad cops out there, as well as good ones, & stories of bad ones MUST be reported.

Den Mark 23.May.2003 09:12


Suggest you re-read "mE"s post ... you completely misunderstood what was actually said.

replies to skeptics 23.May.2003 09:39

digicam boy

in response to "mE" and "Ilio Manzetti", who disbelieve this story i say: your opinions about the details of this story, either from the photos or the words, mean very little to me, and should be dismissed by readers here as well. your knowledge of this incident is second hand and entirely virtual. as the person who wrote this article, i spent quite a bit of time talking to the activist, and his story checks out, at least if you're talking about the "does it feel true" test. that's the gut test: when you're talking to someone, does it have the ring of truth? what do their eyes tell you? what is their tone? how does it all fit together? i talk to plenty of people and hear lots of things, and i don't put up a story like this unless i'm confident in its veracity.

the slurs about needles and sores are ignorant at best and purposeful disinfo at worst. the photos are lo-res here and not enough to make that kind of statement. i saw the injuries in person, took the photos (a little more than 24 hours after the incident) and have the hi-res originals, and can say with confidence that the allegations "Ilio Manzetti" makes are false.

i've got some question for "mE" and "Ilio Manzetti": what is the source of your skepticism? are you simply skeptics who don't like to believe anything? then shut up; there's nothing i can say to you. if your joy comes from being devil's advocate then there's no way to answer you ever. are you concerned activists who are against police abuse and want to make sure such a story is true so it doesn't look our causes look bad? okay -- then, believe me that the activist was honest and i was honest and that this story is as honest as it can be. finally, if you're cops or whatever, and are trying to make this issue, this person, and this site look bad, then fuck off. in any case, i don't have any respect for you because of the tone you use. not helpful. if you're not here to help (which *can* mean asking tough questions, just as long as you're doing it right), then go away.

This almost happened to me once.... 23.May.2003 09:57

CountZero Countzero@riseup.net

"Me" and "Menzetti" why do you question this?
Do you really believe that the police in this town are incapable of doing something like this?
If so than I would suggest that you talk to people of color who have racial harasment as part of their every day lives.
The fact that we dont get beaten up more often just goes to show our inherent privlege-and the fact that we should be obligated to use this privlege for social justice....

I would belive this story immediatly even if there was not pictures and a subject who had this happen to him first hand..
I am another 18 old anarchist who likes to dress in black and walk around listening to techno at three in the morning so I am scared that the next time that my clothes are noticed by cops bad things will happen.

On the 15th when people took the Morrison bridge I was stopped later that night and asked why I was wereing all black( "even your shoes are black") I luckily manged to squirm out of the questions by saying that it was my fashion choice but I was very close to getting searched and possibly beaten.
The point is that these incidents do happen and the only way that we are going to be able to get them to stop is to resist them with all our might.
If the courthouse is not packed when this kid goes to court we should forget about ever saying the word 'soliderity' again!

... 23.May.2003 10:36


mE sounds like the typical white male in the deep south during the 60's. his ideas will fade away from social norm into social taboo like his predicessors . " the nigger deserved it, marching, protesting sum'bitch!!"

complaint filing against the police 23.May.2003 11:36


Your friend can file a complaint against the officers with Portland's citizen police review board, the Independent Police Review (IPR). He can get a complaint form sent to him if he calls 823-0146. ( He'll probably have to clear up the criminal charges against him before IPR would take any action.)

The IPR isn't a truly independent review board, and so the complaint might get declined, but he can file an appeal. If the appeal is accepted, the IPR's Citizen Review Committee, (CRC). a nine-member volunteer panel, will get to review the case. The CRC has been making some very good decisions lately, such as recommending stronger case findings. The Committee members also have the ability to examine police policy, and examine the policies that apply to this incident even if they decide not to hear the case or to affirm the original findings.

If he does decide to file a complaint, it would be a good idea to write everything down about the incident, including date, time, location, officers' names or descriptions, the officers' statements, witnesses' names and contact information, if any; surrounding businesses in case someone inside a store or bank witnessed the incident, etc.

Good luck,

--Diane with pdxCOPWATCH

Ignorance is no excuse 23.May.2003 14:36

Not a medic

I wasn't there. I didn't see the arrest.

But it is possible to respond to the ignorant comments and questions posted by Ilio Manzetti and mE, though I suspect that mE is just slinging crap.
First, Portland cops use both metal and plastic handcuffs, sometimes both on the same person. Hey, it happened to me, so it could happen to other folks. The metal ones are more dangerous, as they can damage the nerves easily , but are routine for non-protest situations.
Second, Ilio is not a wound specialist. The bruises and abrasions could have been received at the same time. There is nothing there in the photographs to indicate that they were not received about 24 hours earlier. Scabbing can start by that point. Photos are difficult to use to judge the staging of wounds. And yeah, I do know about wounds. Treating them is my job.
"Who hits someone on the shoulder?" Get real. Cops hit people on the shoulder. It is a disabling blow with a baton or can also be received if you're getting taken down to the ground and your hands are cuffed behind your back.

The treatment that the young person received is part and parcel of the work that the Portland police do. Who killed Jose Meija? Who killed Kendra James? People who wear all black occasionally receive the same treatment that people of color (and they're not "non-white", Digicam Boy, just like you're not "non-female"), routinely receive.

That has been the function of the police since after the Civil War.

If you want to stop this, file a complaint. Seek help from the Copwatch groups.

But most importantly, join us tomorrow at Alberta Park at 12 noon. The community must control the police.

reply to not a medic 23.May.2003 15:29

digicam boy

the use of the term "non-white" in that sentence was a purposeful, conscious choice. i used "people of color" before, but wanted to use the less correct "non-white" in the second instance to make a point -- to draw attention to what is mostly a white police force that thinks in terms of white and non-white. some irony. i guess it didn't work though. :(

but hey more than that i really want to say thanks for supplying the medical point of view here. debunking the two cynics here was very important.

Information... 23.May.2003 16:06


Get all the reports regarding the incident - they should include the use of force by individual officers.

Then contact one of the attorneys representing people attacked at A22, M20, and M25. These cops need to be stopped, and it looks like Risk Management might be the only ones who care.

See.... 24.May.2003 08:50


See...Safety is a big issue for me, and the police have proven untrustworthy. I cannot count on them for protection for I might encounter the "bad" cop. While I won't go walking alone at night, I will participate in a protest. Being on the front lines or any vicinity, actually, makes one vulnerable to police brutality. We ought to be safe anywhere, but the reality differs. Targeting of "anarchists" is a way to make us conform. Don't. Keep up the pressure.

who cares if someone wears all black? 24.May.2003 16:07


Why is it anyone's business if someone chooses to wear all black? Lots of people wear black; it doesn't mean you're an anarchist. And of course, it isn't against the law to be an anarchist.

Don't cops wear all black when they're in riot gear? Hypocrites.

pattern of police abuse 24.May.2003 19:47

IPR/IAD # 2002-C-235

Its surprising the how police seen to pick on people walking by themselves on an empty street. There probobly were'nt any witnesses. It's also surprising why he wasn't sighted for resisting arrest, which is what I was arrested for. It is also likely that no charges will filed in court and the young man will not be able to plead 'not guilty'. Depending on his criminal history. He will then be forced to file a complaint, as Diane stated, where the officer will be exonerated or allegations will be unfounded. All they have to do is lie.

you were there??? 02.Jun.2003 11:01


by the way most of you are talking, you were there and were a witness to what happened...... you mean you were not there..... you didnt see the whole story unfold..... maybe most of you should have the entire story before passing judgement on others.

A comment to Ilio Manzetti 06.Jun.2003 01:31


I met the young man in these photographs today, and the way he described the incident, the police kicked him in the back of the knee and he fell face-first—so the discrepancy in the "healing process" could be explained that way—he fell first on his knee, then on his shoulder, which is probably why the scrape on his shin is worse than the bruise on his shoulder. Also, it rained almost every night in May—he was probably wearing a shirt and a jacket, which would take more of the impact and reduce the chance of scraping than pants. But hey, I'm not Steve McGarrett, so I don't know these things. Anyway, quit watching CSI and thinking that you're a cop—you're not.

i swear 31.Mar.2004 05:46

im going to die trying FUCK ROKEDPIGASCOPS ez2gt.com /////comingsoon

i get bullshited by cops here in by my house. i moved from the hood WHERE THEY WILL NEVER DO SHIT LIKE THESE FAKE PIGS..THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT CRIME IS THEY WILL DIE IS THEY TASTE IT FOR ONE DAY i mean the hood WHERE COPS DO REALL COP SHIT. i moved to a nice quit place. these pig as cops fucked me up this friday. tasered me after geting out of my car slowly like they said put my hands on my head then they rushed me i got ramed into the grown the pigs that where on me said he's resisting i was saying NO NO NO I'M NOT DAM i fuking had atleast three diffrent taser guns poking my back. imagine YOUR FACE HITING THE FLOOR WHILE YOUR HANDS ARE HELD, YOUR RIGHT UPPER EYE IS BIG AND PLUMED BLEEDING, AND BEING TASERED. felt like i was going to past out i could not breath i had all my energy out of my i could not move but just breath. the pigs where like get up. that bitch as was if you don't get up wil taser u again. it was atlest 15-20 of them fuckers. man i could not belive what i had predicted cus they have pulled me over and taken my car for stupid shit i swear. these fuckrs are GANG RELATED cus i heard. next time i know they will kill me and set it all up. watch i bet....my life on it.. my own rase..fucking cowerds..i m trying to be fucking good & move out the hood and get fucked by fake as woods. I DID NOTHING WRONG I SWEAR but i know something

i going to get RICH becease iSWEAR iM TELLING THE TRUTH...

..police democrats republicans fbi cia those are the real GANGS.
you see we get bombed orshit like (twin towers). the the U.S has to find out who did it

are we really FREE slowly and slowly your FREEDOM IS BEING TAKING AWAY see what is around you why you do waht you have to do the shit you do every day... YOU WANT OR YOU HAVE TO day your daily shit..

but then when it's all over


police are unfair to us 04.Nov.2004 07:17

jk big noise

the police get away with every thing over here the beat up guys and try and hide the fact that they did when we try to fight back there is no chance against the law they out number us all the time my freind got stoped from the cops and they had no reason to maybe because he was from china the said he was doing more than 80 miles an hour my ass he had a clapped up fiesta that could not go any faster than 50 miles an hour

hate police 04.Nov.2004 07:36

aka scots lad

The cops thinck there it there not there just a bunch off guys in a uniform that thinck there smart well there not there all dumb there all the same i thinck they beat u up becuse they have nothing better to do cops go home have a joint and relax dont beat up kids come to me cause ill shoot ur ass ok AKA scots lad is out off here going to cause mayem tonite and the cop shop is first ha ha ha ha