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arts and culture | police / legal a22: bush protest

Sat June 28 - 7pm !! Benefit for A22 (Bush Protest) Lawsuit

On August 22, pResident Bush visited Portland, Oregon, and was greeted by thousands of protesters. Forest activists kicked off the day of dissent with a tree-sit in the North Park Blocks. The Portland chapter of the Pacific Green Party held a rally on the Waterfront. Hundreds of police, including many in full riot gear, staked out a nine square block area around the Hilton Hotel where Bush was speaking, giving protesters free reign throughout the rest of downtown where they took the streets, blocked intersections, and made a joyful noise.
lovely Beulahland
lovely Beulahland
In the late afternoon, police declared a state of emergency, and threatened to arrest anyone who did not disperse. Very few people heard these announcements and police did not give the crowd time to comply. The police then turned violent, shooting people with rubber bullets and pepper-spraying many others. Children were among the victims of chemical attacks, including a 10 month old baby.

Benefit for Bush protest lawsuit
Saturday, June 28 @ 7:00 pm
Beulahland - NE 28th, between Couch & Davis


Come to a benefit for Bush protest lawsuit! Starting at 7pm, the Portland Indymedia Video about the 2002 Bush Protest will be shown, and Alan Graf will talk about the lawsuit he's pressing against the city for police brutality. Then the ever-kickass Digital Knife and Del Toros will play, hopefully followed by Riot Cop if they're not dead or in Sacramento [why would they be in Sacramento? see here: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/action/sacramento/] All the proceeds from the benefit will be used to hire experts on pepper spray and police brutality, to pay deposition fees, etc, not to the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) attorney pressing the case, nor to the volunteer legal team.

HISTORY: National Lawyers Guild attorney Alan Graf filed the lawsuit in Federal District Court in October 2002, naming as defendants the City, Mayor, Police Chief and about 25 individual Portland police officers for violently attacking a peaceful crowd of demonstrators with pepper spray and shooting rubber bullets at the Bush protest on August 22nd 2002.

The crowd was young and old: the youngest person pepper sprayed by the police was a 10month old baby. The parents of the baby were also sprayed, and the entire family, including two other young children, are plaintiffs in the suit. There are four other plaintiffs besides the family. Among the demands of the lawsuit is the creation of an independent, civilian police review board with the authority to punish those responsible for use of improper or excessive force.

Following are two links, one to the site of the attorney pressing the case, the second to background on the August 22nd, 2002 protest.
- Alan Graf's site: http://www.hippielawyer.com/
- A22-related coverage on Portland Indymedia: http://portland.indymedia.org/a22/

About the A22 Legal Team

The A22 Legal Team is a National Lawyer's Guild (NLG) project that, on completion, plans to move on to another civil liberties project. The team is comprised of attorneys Alan Graf, Liz Joffe, Steve Sherlag, Aaron Varhola, Larry Hildes and Mark Kramer, alongside a fleet of entirely unpaid volunteers doing legal research, clerical work and investigations.

The primary goal is the advancement of the lawsuit against the City of Portland, Mayor Vera Katz, and police officers responsible (see Appendix C for formal Complaint) for committing acts of brutality against citizens assembled peacefully to protest George. W. Bush and his policies, on August 22nd, 2002 in Portland, Oregon. This legal team is working on behalf of all people and their right to active dissent, a critical component of a free and just society, which is a true prerequisite of peace.

One of the most important and immediate aims is the filing of a motion for an injunction against Portland Police to prevent them from using pepper spray or rubber bullets against peaceful protestors. From the complaint (Appendix C), "Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief in the form of a court ordered ban on the use of chemical weapons and rubber bullets for crowd control of peaceful demonstrations."

At many recent protests the police were seen cavalierly flashing their pepper spray cans like exterminators. Rubber bullets and concussion grenades were shot at a completely still crowd on Thursday, March 20, 2003. Within the last few hours of this writing, on Tuesday, March 25, 2003, police attacked protestors legally standing on the sidewalk, with no provocation, slamming a young man's face into the ground, twice, then pepper-spraying his face mere inches away. Soon after, officers cornered a young woman on the sidewalk, laughing as they sprayed her with a chemical weapon (http://portland.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=53447). The urgent need for this motion is obvious in this climate where silence connotes complicity in the murderous war on Iraq, but where dissent often incurs bodily harm inflicted with no proximate provocation by protestors. We need to hold accountable our "public servants" to continue to protest for peace.

An explicit long-term aim of this lawsuit is a real civilian review board: (from Complaint, Appendix C) "?injunctive relief specifically in the form of a court ordered civilian based review board with investigatory authority, subpoena power and the power to compel testimony in the hands of civilians to deter the Portland Police from future acts of violence against peaceful civilians." If the plaintiffs prevail, collecting compensatory and punitive damages, money left to attorneys above attorney and court costs will be used to aid efforts of organizations like the Police Accountability Campaign in advocating and forming a real civilian police review board in Portland, one with teeth.

The suit also seeks restitution for the victims of the police brutality on August 22, 2002, among whom are an infant and father, a mother and daughter, and activist Lloyd Marbet. Also requested are court and attorney fees. If the lawsuit is lost, the NLG attorneys will simply have worked for free; they're used to it. All of the grant money will go to costs only, not to any member of the A22 Legal Team.

To press this lawsuit successfully, the A22 Legal Team must hire pepper spray and police brutality experts to testify about the effects of chemical weapons and the norms of police enforcement. Among the expert testimony sought is that of the Chief of Police of Bellingham, WA, who will testify that Portland police did not act appropriately. The A22 Team also needs to pay to hire toxicologists, cover the cost of transcripts and depositions and court reporter costs.

This lawsuit seeks relief for all citizens suffering from police harassment and brutality. A true civilian review board would change the balance of power between the people in Oregon and those abusing their power under the guise of protecting and serving.

Addendum 27.Jun.2003 12:38

Ad'v'cat

$6 - $20 suggested donation
Age: 21 and over

that was one awesome show! 29.Jun.2003 20:59

thanks

thanks for putting this on. those bands kicked ass, especailly the three woman punk band. i can't believe how tight they were and how killer the drummer was. of course those groovy surf tunes were pretty sweet too...

pictures uploaded 29.Jun.2003 22:06

indy photographer

I uploaded some pictures and did a short write up here:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/06/267266.shtml. For those who were there and those who weren't feel free to check it out.