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Jaywalking in the City of Portland

This morning, I finally had the opportunity to test a suspiscion I have had for some time. After the events of March the 25th, I suspected that Portland Police officers may be selectively enforcing laws in order to silence political dissent. Specifically, I watched on March 25th as people who were protesting the war against Iraq were intimidated, beaten, pepper sprayed and arrested by police. In the course of this treatment, I saw numerous people get arrested and hauled off to jail for the "crime" of jaywalking.

Arrested for jaywalking? When was the last time you ever saw anything like that? Even in the most draconian, Iron Curtain dictatorships, I haven't heard of people being beaten, gassed, and arrested for jaywalking. (Except of course, Israel, where Palestinians are shot for similar offenses.)

It seemed strange to me. Could it be that the police were abusing their authority? Could it be that they were using a seldom-enforced and universally ignored rule to crack down on dissenting voices? Here in America, no less? [ Read More ]