portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts portland metro

anti-racism | human & civil rights | police / legal

Racist Police Harrass Clubgoers

On Monday night, Nov. 17, Portland police sat outside Ringlers during a hip-hop party with a stuffed monkey in the grill of a cop car. A photo taken with a cell phone camera early Tuesday morning show a large toy monkey, or gorilla, stuffed behind the bumper guard of a Portland police car parked in front of Ringlers on West Burnside Street. The car was clearly visible inside the restaurant/bar, where a hip-hop party involving mostly black patrons was being held.
Read the original article and see the picture at  http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=C112203
Hooray for Portland Tribune! 24.Nov.2003 13:34

Mother

Sometimes this paper has some real surprises!

They provided some of the best anti-war march coverage in the past year.

and they got paid for that lousy coverage that was the best of them all 24.Nov.2003 14:29

wet sock

dear mommy dearest,

lip service is disgusting. Couple of days we get to hear the jawing of the globulous piggish men who credit the portland police force.

when babies pepper sprayed no screaming headlines, but now that there has been a change of guard it might be O k to print this. thank god that occasionally they find something else to report than new style ATM machines.

It doesn't sound like the author new the first thing about investigative reporting.

Ask the chief 24.Nov.2003 16:12

concerned citizen

Newly installed Chief of Police derrick Foxworth of Portland will be the primary speaker at the Sabin Community general meeting to be held tonight, Monday, November 24th from 7-9pm in the Sabin School auditorium; located at 4013 N.E. 18th, Access East entryway. The discussion will be centered upon "Community policing", though other local issues will certainly arise. Please attend with questions regarding community issues or police action concerns, bring plenty of questions for the chief. Media is very welcome to attend.
Not driving? Easy TriMetbus access through 15th #8 or Fremont routes.

Uhh.. not quite 24.Nov.2003 16:17

ed harley

if you knew anything about jim redden you would know that he in fact knows quite a lot about investigative reporting, since he is credited with solving the 'starry night' murder of '91 or thereabouts.... look it up, junior!

Disclosing the cops names is the right thing to do 24.Nov.2003 16:49

Transparency=democracy

The article states:

Two of the four pictures obtained by the Tribune show the toy monkey behind the bumper guard. Others show a white Portland police officer standing in front of a car and a legible identification number given Saturday to Officer Groepper of the car Washington said had the monkey. "

What is the legible identification number?

It is extremely important that the community knows who this dangerous racist is. There is no good reason to give the number to Officer Groepper but to not give it to the people. Disclosing that cops name is the right thing to do so we will know who he is, who his partner is and then can find out who the other cops are. If we continue to let them hide they will continue to harass, intimidate, insult. By protecting their identity it may even encourage them to do violence or even kill because they think they can do outrageous things with impunity. Knowing his identity is necessary to protect the public's safety.

Again I say...What is that number?

Racisim? maybe not 24.Nov.2003 18:34

Red Suspenders

Well, We did have a few very cold nights. Maybe those fine officers in question just wanted to block the flow of air to the radiator so thier heater would be warmer while sitting around eating doughnuts. We really should praise their resourcefulness in using a readily available stuffed gorilla when they couldn't find a proper peice of cardboard.

re: harley 24.Nov.2003 22:50

wet sock

I know that for the interest of advertising he didn't have the time to cover these details.

1) Is it unusual for cops to be parked there?

2) have police harrassed this club before?

3) In terms of numbers what is a very large black crowd?

4) How did the black folks feel?

5)Does this cop have any sort of record? (If they have undo powers in order to protect us then this should be public knowledge?)

6) Was he paid for working those hours?

7)How does the owner of the club feel?

If he knnocked the damn stars out of his eyes he could have answered all of these basic questions. But you know that don't ya sonny?

follow-up: story takes bizarre turn? 25.Nov.2003 03:36

xorb

first off, i am not defending the portland police. i know there are many racist (and otherwise discriminating) police in this town. period. but i found this follow-up story, which, well, is just bizarre.
A stuffed gorilla toy that led to allegations of racial intimidation and an internal investigation by Portland police may have been a misunderstanding.

"He's my friend," said the toy's owner Robert Fowlkes. "I've had him for three months."

Fowlkes admits he was drunk while carrying his stuffed toy gorilla one week ago when police took him into custody outside a downtown Portland nude dancing bar.

After taking Fowlkes into custody, officers put the toy in the front bumper because they say it had a foul odor.

[ ... ]

"I didn't notice no vomit," said Fowlkes' neighbor John Austin. "I didn't notice nothing."

"It didn't have any of it on there," said Fowlkes. "The cops are full of crap man."


The attempt as explanation is an insult 25.Nov.2003 08:57

I want the true not a bizarre story

I saw that explanation by Foxworth on channel 6. It is so obviously bull.

Why carry a gorrilla? We all know the cops throw away the sleeping bags, coats, etc of people without a home.

Why put it on the front bumper? They could have put it in the trunk if it was so important to keep it for the owner as they claim is police policy.

Where was the owner of the gorrilla? The cops went from Mary's where they picked up the gorrilla's owner and then were called to the hip hop show. Was the gorrilla's owner passed out in the back seat? Did they take him to the pokey but keep the gorrilla?

Were the cops really called to the hip hop show? A quick listen to the dispatch records will reveal whether this is a lie or not.

Was the gorrilla really covered in vomit and urine? Any one who has ever tried to remove either of those bodily fluids from clothing or a stuffed doll realizes that it is practically impossible to get rid of the odor. The owner of the gorrilla and the channel 6 reporter did not seem to notice even the faintest remnance of either of those foul odors. Besides that the police have so many crime fighting tools as their disposal -----test it.

Who are these cops? Do they have a history of racist behavior.

Why did the cop get out of his car to adjust the gorrilla? If it was covered in vomit and urine as they claim he would have avoided touching the gorrilla and when he did touch it he would have worn gloves as per police procedure.

truth is out there 25.Nov.2003 09:01

towhee

It seems like this would be fairly easy to sort out. You've got Fowlkes saying "Yes, the occifers put the gorilla on the grill" and what time that arrest went down then you figure out if there really was a "disturbance call" at Ringler's and what time that happened. It could just be a bad coincidence that the gorilla was on the grill.

yes, this latest version has a bit of a smell to it.... 25.Nov.2003 09:06

the sniffer

Yes indeed, this latest version has a bit of a smell to it. Ain't saying it's got a stink to it just yet, but does have a strange odor!
When one considers that the past week had near unending revelations as to more cop-troubles, yesterday's THE OREGON-
IAN had editorial, and top cop officials and Mayor Katz are surely under fire, to suddenly pop up with this version of events is
highly suspect. It seems like a lot of political "spinmeistering", and if so, then it's in character with Katz and much disappoint-
ing insofar as Foxworth is concerned. I say let's don't give them complete acceptance of their latest version, but we hold their
darn feet to the fire till we do get at the full 100% truth of the matter. So, let's keep shoveling the coal and keep the heat up!

Pick your battles 25.Nov.2003 09:24

rolling my eyes....

I must say I'm not surprised that people are jumping on the PC bandwagon over this incident. Having participated anti-war marches and critical mass rides, I have witnessed a fair amount of police misconduct, and I agree that the PPD is corrupt, and I'm not normally one to be an apologist for them. And since I am a white heterosexual able-bodied 33 year old male, perhaps I am not the best qualified to decide what is and isn't racist.

But regardless of how many people were offended by this, common sense must prevail. There have been many clear-cut instances of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, etc. throughout the police bureau to be outraged over that we do not need to waste our time with an imagined instance of racism. While the reason that someone found the stuffed gorilla offensive is not lost on me, it seems to me that it was just an unfortunate misunderstanding. Sure, any group of people marginalized by the police, be they activists, homeless, or African-Amercian hip-hop fans would love to see the po-pos go down. While I doubt any kind of investigation would be conclusive as far as determining racist intent on part of the officer, if it were somehow found to be a racist analogy, it should be dealt with appropriately.

However the only thing I see coming out of this is damage to the integrity of the black community, as this detracts from more serious and blatant charges of racism, which in the long run can be much more damaging than a musty old stuffed animal tied to a squad car. This incident has already recieved more publicity than it deserves, and as the Chief of Police and a member of the African-American community, Foxworth should treat this with a grain of salt. As far as I'm concerned DJ Mello Cee owes the black community an apology. Calvin Washington owes the black community an apology.

The police, for once, do not.

You are right about one thing, "rolling my eyes"... 25.Nov.2003 09:53

GRINGO STARS

...you are right that you are NOT best qualified to decide what is and isn't racist.

"rolling my eyes", you are white, and as per your arrogant racial white privilege, you are telling DJ Mello Cee and Calvin Washington that they owe the black community an apology. How white of you. How typical. How disgusting. Fuck you.

You are essentially telling African-Americans to "lighten up" and that their concerns are not at all valid. Your kind of "common sense" is for white people to dictate to black people how they should feel about racial issues. That is called oppression. You don't have to live with racial oppression, so it is very easy for you to say that this, which has obviously upset African-Americans, is "a waste of time."

African-Americans confront ANY and ALL instances of racial oppression - they do not subscribe to your white concept of only battling some cases of racism. Black people know that any time racism appears, it must be dealt with and not ignored, swept under the table, forgotten, suffered, or endured (which you are commanding them to do).

So I guess fighting racism is "jumping on the PC bandwagon"? When African-Americans are offended you call it "an unfortunate musunderstanding" as if they are too stupid and their feelings are not valid, when clearly, given the context of a lifetime of racial oppression, they perceive the stuffed gorilla as an insult. The police officer(s) involved are either intentionally insulting, or insultingly insensitive, and either way they are wrong and this issue must be addressed. If you, a white police-apologist/activism-cop (yes you are policing other people's activism), are tut-tutting those "uncomprehending" African-Americans (yes that is how you seem to perceive them) because you are uncomfortable with all of this, then good. I hope you get so uncomfortable that you are forced to "re"-examine your privileged, unexamined half-bakedviews.

I'm not rolling my eyes at the gorrilla incident 25.Nov.2003 09:56

in all seriousness

I do not consider this incident "just an unfortunate misunderstanding". The police are simply being clever about their public explanation of this obviously racist act. Since the public outcry to the "oppossum incident" and the "smoke em don't choke em incident" they feel the need to come up with some explanation to appease the people- but really now, no explanation is better than the absurd one they have given here.

I also fail to see how prompt and truthful resolution of this gorrilla incident will result in "damage to the integrity of the black community". The police in portland are racist and all evidence of that is important to force them to stop and to force them to reform. It is the integrity of the police that is at issue here - nothing more and nothing less.

In response to the comment "This incident has already recieved more publicity than it deserves, and as the Chief of Police and a member of the African-American community, Foxworth should treat this with a grain of salt." I find many of rolling my eyes comments intentionally provocative. This gorrilla incident should continue to receive much attention becuase it appears to be much like burning a cross in it's effect. The fact that Foxworth is black is essentially irrelevant. The neoChief's ethnicity matters only as far as he knows about the racism in the portland police department from personal experience and is choosing to cover it up. That speaks to his character and honesty but not to the truth of this matter or it's importance.

as to all these pro-cop comments, let's not forget Jesus' warning... 25.Nov.2003 10:04

the sniffer2

as to all these pro-cop comments above, let's not forget Jesus' warning: "beware of wolves in sheep's clothing" or was that
pigs in sheep's clothing? As they view us mostly as sheepeople anyway, it's no stretch of the imagination that some of 'em
will stuff themselves into sheepeople clothing, and like the sly wolf, seek to foist themselves off as one of us. Only problem
is, they're so damned big, it's hard not to recognize 'em no matter the garb! Re-read some of these comments above, and do
see what I mean! Enjoy the squealing!

lip service, ed? 25.Nov.2003 19:08

wet sock

I told ya, ed. It was campaign of lip service for the PD. Now we are going to listen and debate for weeks on a terrible crime which will seem to have never been committed. Maybe the tribune will get him a raise, get him off the streets for awhile until he is ready to train somebody else. Because he couldn't put the gorilla in a trash bag in the trunk, then get the car cleaned at tax payer expense. Because he wasn't seen for hours hanging around as the black folks not quoted say he was. I guess jr, here, should be saying yes mommy dearest they did a great job being lip service. Now what about Miami????????????????????????

to sniffer 25.Nov.2003 21:38

indperson

Please stop hitting >enter< at the end of every line in your posts. Let the word wrap in the form box take care of it. If you haven't noticed, trying to make your own line breaks results in messy formatting on the finished product (unless that's how you want it. In that case, nevermind...).

Wow 25.Nov.2003 22:10

James

"How white of you. How typical. How disgusting. Fuck you. "

This had me laughing for a good ten seconds. Personally, the frequent period-usage caused me to read it somewhat musically, which added to its amusement value. (Your mileage may vary). I plan to adopt this as my new catch phrase, which I will repeat ad nauseum to friends whenever an applicable situation shall arise.

(If you're interested, the old catch phrase was "Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion," a quote from a drunkenly-conceived movie called Donnie Darko).

For REAL, yo. 26.Nov.2003 04:01

clamydia

I mean, I have nothing against you personally, Gringo STARS, but you CAN be pretty god-pounding reactionary sometimes. The guy just puts in his two cents (quite humbly, I might add: "perhaps I am not the best qualified to decide what is and isn't racist"), and you start calling him names? What the hell is wrong with you? If you disagree with the dude, then make your point, but don't try to strengthen your argument by attacking his character (which is ironically the same thing you accuse some of craig rosewhatever's critics of doing).

To rolling-my-eyes: Have you SEEN the photo? That wasn't just some little toy stuffed animal some cop forgot to get rid of before showing up. That thing was HUGE. It obviously took a lot of handling and effort to get that thing squeezed into the bumper like that, a lot more than, say, throwing it in the trunk. Also, the article mentions that the officers dropped the drunk owner of said gorilla off at the tank, and then were on their way to his apartment when they got the call to the club. What I want to know is; isn't it standard procedure amongst police officers to check in a suspect's belongings upon bringing them in, rather than holding on to them? Also, how were they going to get into the guy's apartment to put back his gorilla? Did he give them the keys? Because that's not SOP either. As a matter of fact, what they claim to have intended to do seems to me to possibly even be illegal. I think that the most plausible explanation for this is that the cops, whether as a racist statement or just because they thought it looked cute/funny, wanted to have the big gorilla on the front of their car.


For REAL, yo... 26.Nov.2003 04:05

clamydia

I mean, I have nothing against you personally, Gringo STARS, but you CAN be pretty god-pounding reactionary sometimes. The guy just puts in his two cents (quite humbly, I might add: "perhaps I am not the best qualified to decide what is and isn't racist"), and you start calling him names? What the hell is wrong with you? If you disagree with the dude, then make your point, but don't try to strengthen your argument by attacking his character (which is ironically the same thing you accuse some of craig rosewhatever's critics of doing).

To rolling-my-eyes: Have you SEEN the photo? That wasn't just some little toy stuffed animal some cop forgot to get rid of before showing up. That thing was HUGE. It obviously took a lot of handling and effort to get that thing squeezed into the bumper like that, a lot more than, say, throwing it in the trunk. Also, the article mentions that the officers dropped the drunk owner of said gorilla off at the tank, and then were on their way to his apartment when they got the call to the club. What I want to know is; isn't it standard procedure amongst police officers to check in a suspect's belongings upon bringing them in, rather than holding on to them? Also, how were they going to get into the guy's apartment to put back his gorilla? Did he give them the keys? Because that's not SOP either. As a matter of fact, what they claim to have intended to do seems to me to possibly even be illegal. I think that the most plausible explanation for this is that the cops, whether as a racist statement or just because they thought it looked cute/funny, wanted to have the big gorilla on the front of their car.


I gotta do what I gotta do, clammy 26.Nov.2003 11:57

GRINGO STARS

C'mon, clamydia. Fuck that guy. He has no concept of what BS he's saying. Some people don't get it until they get negative feedback, like "rolling my eyes." His kind of BS is very counterproductive. Sometimes being a dick is helpful. I don't pretend everyone is my friend, because not everyone is, especially that guy, who is probably a cop anyways. At the very least he is a thoughtless cop apologist. Those who do not recognize themselves as being part of the problem should be told in no uncertain terms what it is that they are doing, since they seem to have no clue. I will proudly be a reactionary against such things as racism anyday. If it makes you feel uncomfortable when a racist gets spanked perhaps you should ask yourself why you feel that way, clamydia? I was attacking his character because his character is the problem; Racial arrogance. And per his white privilege, he has no idea that he even has any racial privilege. To him, African-Americans are oversensitive whiners. He almost completely lacks empathy himself. I'm not going to sidestep, couch my language in fashionable terms of uncertainty, or mince words.

Everything ties to racism 28.Nov.2003 22:27

herebeforeyouall

No matter what the police do, it's always racism this and racism that. They put a black gorilla that stunk like alcohol in the grill ... racism ...
I would suggest that the criers of racism let them police know which animals are there mascotts so situations like this can be avoided.
It is clear where the racism exists, and its not in the police, its in the people who look at a police officer and see a racist white man.

I agree, racism is used for everything 28.Nov.2003 23:52

Linda

Just reading this post shows the reasim on both sides... How white of you .. WOW .. thats one of the raciest statements I've heard in a long time. Not every white person grew up in a racist family. Not every white person is a racist. Not every white person looks at everyone around them and thinks oh your white, your black, your brown... "White men can jump" .. a movie title. Black men can't jump .. a racist statement. Cops are pigs .. nickname .. Calling an African American a person of Color or black .. racist statement if you happen to be white.
Don't use it as an excuse for the failures in your life. You aren't a high school dropout, druggy working at ma and pa's diner for $6 and hour because the racists put you there. Its all about choices, you make bad choices and get caught, don't use racism as a way out. If you do you do you dishonor the thousands of people who have given their lives to end racism. The police driving around with a black gorella in the grill of their car... Scream Racism!!! If the police were driving around with white hoods and burning crosses then I'd agree, but you can't make every symbol a burning cross.
Take some accountability for your actions and choices. Only cry racism when it is real racism. Cry wolf too many times and when the wolf really comes around, no one will come to save you.

I'm taking bets... 30.Nov.2003 12:07

GRINGO STARS

I'm betting that "Linda" and "herebeforeyouall" are white. Any takers?

White people benefit from racism, so they typically ignore when the institution of racism is questioned. They even discount anti-racism. They have the distance to comfortably discuss racism as if it is something that only happens to other people... because it does. And they wish to control the anti-racist movement, which, yes, is very typically WHITE of them.

Obfuscation 30.Nov.2003 12:17

Crying Idiocy

umm, I haven't seen it but the movie is "White Men CAN'T jump", so your analogy is both flawed and ridiculous.

Grino's bet 02.Dec.2003 04:51

herebeforeyouall

I'm in the Native American catagory Grino. Just because people don't see things your way, doesn't mean there white. That a pretty narrow minded way to think. Pretty racist too. Lable me white without even getting to know me because of the way I think - racism....
Do you actually keep track of the color of people and does it really matter to you that much. Way to keep the fire going Grino.

Regarding that Gorilla 06.Dec.2003 18:15

Observer

This country is drenched in racisim, not to mention various flavours of xenophobia. It is not at all hard to believe that Intimidation or Insult was on the cops minds when they put that Gorilla on their car. Ask any black person. They see it every day, in varying guises and intensities. The really sad thing is that here we are in the 21'st century and this shameful behavior is still with us. One wonders what else those cops think about, or have done in the past? Even if there was no intent to offend, the fact is they have done so, and should have known better.