We moved west down NE Killingsworth to the NE Portland Police precinct headquarters and then turned left on MLK (Martin Luther King Blvd). As we marched down MLK we trapped dozens of cars. Horns were blaring wildly. I wondered if all the drivers were really angry. Then I realized that most of those caught in the traffic jam were African-American, and they weren't just honking -- they had their windows rolled down and were shouting encouragement. It was a welcome change from the recent peace marches through downtown Portland in which the police had closed the entire route to vehicle traffic, kept us away from the shoppers near Pioneer Square, and made us feel like we were marching through a ghost town. And then there was the added benefit that all those Portland Police officers stopping traffic for us were folks we wanted to hear the message that if they're afraid of unarmed members of the community they should find another job.
I've lived in this community for twelve years and I have had nothing but good relations with the inner NE Portland police. I want to take this sentence to express my gratitude to the majority Portland police officers who, as far as I can tell, are doing an excellent job. I have also lived here long enough to have learned not to assume that I live in the exact same community that my African-American neighbors live in. Finally, we turned right on NE Skidmore and marched west to the I-5 overpass where Kendra James was killed during a routine traffic stop on the night of May 5th 2003.
On this page I present four pictures from the march and rally and a fifth shot that I snapped as I rode home. The last image is a snapshot of the protest sign that I had attached to the front of my bike. It lists a few of the key facts in the Kendra James case. One fact that I cut reluctantly from the list on my sign was mentioned several times by speakers at the rally:
* And how were two officers involved able to dine together before detectives could interview them? (Why, contrary to police rules, were they given a chance to get their stories straight?)
All these facts were taken from The Oregonian's brief review of the 600 page internal investigation of the Portland Police. You can read that article about police investigation into the killing of Kendra James here: