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indymedia readers investigate PDX Police officer Jason Sery, killer of James Jahar Perez

When we look around at all the problems in the world -- imperialism, racism, environmental destruction, etc., -- we can feel hopeless. These issues are huge, and are the methods and results of a tiny class of wealthy people who dominate the vast majority of the rest of us. How can we fight back? One of the best ways is by taking on the corporate media, which is nothing less than the propaganda arm of the ruling elite. Factually, the corporate media lies and leaves out the important parts; Psychically, they define the world within a narrow framework of disempowerment -- in which everyday people are helpless to change anything (but can choose among dozens of colors of cellphone faceplates) -- and in so doing, cause the feelings of hopelessness we have about the state of the world. Corporate media incarcerates us inside our own skulls; fortunately, we can break out at any time if we so will it.

indymedia readers showed how open publishing can be used to challenge the corporate media model and create a more effective community resource, when they researched Jason Sery, the PDX Police officer who killed James Jahar Perez, and posted their findings to this site.

previous features: [ Portland Police Murder Unarmed Black Man (28 Mar. 04) | 15 Hours Later, Po-Po Still Mute (29 Mar. 04) ]

In its four+ years of existence, indymedia has shown that media need not be corporate or full of lies. Instead, it can be both factual and empowering -- a "passionate telling of the truth". Open publishing is at the heart of indymedia's revolution. Anyone and everyone can post the news themselves; there's no need for a "professional" middle-person (i.e., a "reporter"), or for an editor, or for worries about advertiser opinions. Additionally, everyone who reads the site is a potential fact-checker. Though corporate media has a stranglehold on the airwaves, lots of fancy equipment, and tons of money, there are more of us (that is, real people who aren't "journalists") than there are of them; in this way, indymedia truly has the potential to overwhelm corporate media as a source of information and inspiration.

As more people use the indymedia network, its effectiveness grows. Here in Portland, this local indymedia site is read regularly not only by thousands of citizens, but by the government, the cops, and the corporate media. Though the latter three groups seek to suck it dry for their own dastardly purposes, perhaps the spirit of freedom (and fun) that pervades the site will positively affect some of them, and show them that another world is possible.

An example of the cooperation possible with open publishing flowered on the portland indymedia site in the wake of the shooting of yet another black man by the police. Once the killer, Jason Sery, was named, indymedia readers went to work to find out more about him. They dug up information about his hiring as a cop in Billings, Montana, in 1996, his church membership (and other bad cops who go there), and what an EMT thinks of him. The corporate media has not yet done this digging, and likely has no institutional interest in doing so, unless there's something "sensational" to cover. Unfortunately, the death of another black person is not enough of an excuse for them to flex any of their muscle to do work for the common good. This is their nature; the corporate media is shallow and driven by greed. Those qualities will lead to a worsening world, not a better one.

Additionally, at least three eyewitness accounts of the shooting were posted [ 1 | 2 | 3 ], and a great deal of outrage. Because indymedia allows anonymous and (nearly) instant posting, people can step forward with their stories in the moment and without (as much) fear of retaliation from authorities as a corporate journalist or letter-to-the-editor writer has. This freedom can lead to abuse (i.e., spamming or lying) but the self-regulating nature of the site, through the posting of comments, results in bullshit or untruths being called out by others. The corporate media is not, and could never be, this flexible or vibrant. What indymedia shows is that the world doesn't have to be so hopeless.


i would just add that... 29.Mar.2004 23:47

indy reader

...indymedia is certainly not a cure for "imperialism, racism, environmental destruction, etc.", but it can be part of movements in action and mind that help to end those things. an incubator and empowerer.

RIGHT ON! Good article 29.Mar.2004 23:48

CRC 2003-X-2003

We are the press. Let's keep it commin'.

Portland Police Bureau scews up again 30.Mar.2004 00:41

Raja

It is no surprise that nothing changes with PDX PD. What are we up to? At least 3 wrongful police murders a year. They are on the rise folks. It is time to start taking this crooked department to task!

Raja
We don't need to go to the Middle east to find 'em.
We don't need to go to the Middle east to find 'em.

damn right 30.Mar.2004 11:25

@

!

Police Accountability Now 30.Mar.2004 11:52

Friend of a Friend

"Though corporate media has a stranglehold on the airwaves, lots of fancy equipment, and tons of money, there are more of us (that is, real people who aren't "journalists") than there are of them; in this way, indymedia truly has the potential to overwhelm corporate media as a source of information and inspiration. "

I LOVE INDYMEDIA!

My sister put it this way: 'these cops are taught to instead of nutralizing violence, to escalate it when their use of force is not complyed with." This includes unlawful orders (as in the case of the man tazed from behind while walking away and individuals singled out in demonstrations for brutal harrassment) and routine racist "traffic stops" which should be banned along with all violations of our civil liberties in the name of law enforcement. Articulate Police Accountability Now! What would it look like? Demand it!

President of the police union 30.Mar.2004 13:12

at the scene of the crime?????

A very disturbing photo on yesterdays metro section reeks of coruption. Just why may I ask was the president of the police union (King) at the scene of the crime speaking with the cheif of police (Foxworth)? The answer should be obvious that he was there to protect the officers involved. And just why was officer Sery interviewed well after the other officer was interviewed? This answer as well should be obvious...gotta get the story straight. These officers should have immediately been taken into custody and thouroughly interogated but this did not happen. COVER UP COVER UP COVER UP COVER UP

a thorough citizen's INVESTIGATION needs to be had on 30.Mar.2004 13:52

Sean Macomber

That was great work on digging up info on citizen-murderer Jason Sery, but we really need to dig up as
much as we can on Sean Macomber too.

Noon today I called an old friend I'd not seen or spoken with in some time. He is retired PDX cop who
left the force last year and has been gone on long extended travels and just got back recently. First
off, he is NOT an asshole cop like we see so much about, as he was more into being a Peace Officer and
was educated, intelligent, liberal-thinking, progressive-minded and very morally sound individual who's
love for his job diminished under Kroeker's tenue as he saw with dismay the force turned upside down to
become modeled after military organization. All that aside, he was looking forward to retirement and it
was a tremendious personal test to endure the last few years employment as he saw the dramatic shift in the public's opinion towards police and less willingness to be mutually cooperative in the fight against
crime. In a nutshell, he was burned-out by time he retired and was damned glad to throw away the trap-
pings of the job, being content to receive the retirment check for service rendered and no "loyalty" to
existing leadership required as part of the bargain in leaving it all behind.

After getting pleasantries out of the way, naturally the conversation drifted around to the issue of the
killing Sunday night, and he was quite vocal in his opinions. They were too much to absorb on my part,
as I didn't really know all the details of the major players as does he, and so, got lost in the details
of it all.

What he did say that I felt was important to recap here was that, to his knowledge, this accomplice to
the murderering by Sery, Sean Macomber didn't enjoy the best of "reputation" and he'd heard a number of
times the guy was "unstable" and had a "hair-trigger temper", and though he himself didn't work with him
or have occasion to, he did recall hearing other's mention him. I won't go into all the context of that
part, but will say that from what I gather, this guy---Sean Macomber---is likely to be just as hot of a
potato as is Sery and that if we dig deep and get a thorough citizen's investigation going on him, then
we'll likely be surprised, if not shocked at what is discovered.

So, let's renew our focus and get to digging up the buried ghosts of Sean Macomber!

for the poster asking why the President of the Police Union was there 30.Mar.2004 15:05

I wonder if you know

that this same fellow...Sgt. Robert King...was himself guilty of murdering a young man some 12 or so
years ago in just as questionable a manner as Sunday night's murdering. It was a very young man and
there was no justification for King's killing him, and yet he got away with it...rose in the ranks and
made Sgt. and Police Union president. So maybe that's how you rise in this Death-cult organization...
by spilling the blood of innocents, and being a worthy challenger to all other intimidators, as if to
proclaim..."I'm top dog"

Well, yes of course, if all the male has going for him is TESTOSTERONE and has the mentality of a dog!
Then such "reasoning"...such as it is...makes some sort of sense!

This is why I don't get all that upset when I hear of a cop getting shot or killed. It don't upset me
in the least. Like when that cop got his face blown off not long ago, I just felt, too bad, but he was
paid damned good to be what he choose to be, and if he didn't like the pressure, he was free to quit to
try something else. Simple world for simpletons!

Macomber assaulted him first 30.Mar.2004 15:30

According to KATU

KATU reported that it was Macomber who slammed the victim's head against the steering wheel before Sery fired his gun. Not much has been said about that, as the killing outshines it in brutality, but it shows that the officer used violence against an unarmed man, still strapped in by his seatbelt where words of persuasion might have gotten compliance. The victim was not violent after all. His resistance consisted of asking "What did I do," and not following orders fast enough.

I agree...we need to find out more about this 30.Mar.2004 15:35

Officer Macomber

as his name rings in my mind for some reason. Wasn't he one of
the cops involved with the Big Monkey incident last December at
the Night Club downtown? Seems like his name was involved?

You're right! I'd all but forgotten about what 30.Mar.2004 16:14

Robert King

did those years ago! My how time flies? After reading the comment about the Police Union chief, I got
to remembering and it came back to my mind. Gosh! It was better than 10 years ago and he was a young
smartassed cop, and as I recall, he shot and killed a young boy that was in junior high, 13 years old or
so. Of course I've forgot the details, but I remember that even at the time his story didn't hold it as
far as I was concerned. Just a cover-up lie to keep his job and keep his damned ass out of jail. AND
this is the guy that's now the Police Union's president? No wonder they're so fucked-up? No wonder!

Beyond R&R 30.Mar.2004 16:31

Toby

Ranting and raving about the injustices of a 'police state' mentality and violence is fine. What isn't fine is the desertion of the ensuing responsibilities to attempt to correct those injustices through criminal and civil legal action. If the DA won't prosecute because cover-up has made it appear as 'in the line of duty', who is willing and able to take it further? The Grand Jury, appointed and manipulated by disinformation? Are there any community organizations out there that watch anything besides consumer reports on the next new electronic whizmo we wanna' purchase? Where are the lawyers that aren't afraid of the the ABA? Where is the tax money that should be used to create, support, and educate such organizations? General education is hurting for money? What percentage of tax money goes to the education and screening of potential law enforcement officers? The 'politician response' to the tax problem is the same year after year. It does not need to be repeated here. It's a matter of bad management and project dumping. How many are willing to give up a new toy to perhaps enable such aforementioned community organizations? Most of us are willing to R&R, but when it comes to the next step, we're too busy consuming or just too busy or afraid. Now I will succumb to sarcasm: How about a new ad slogan for soliciting new recruits: "Want to Murder In The Line Of Duty? Join The Portland Police Department. Immunity guaranteed!"

"Go on shoot him - - it's free!" 30.Mar.2004 19:38

Iyanna

that last comment brought to mind an article I read in The Revolutionary Worker, excerpted below. Pigs are pigs. Of course, that's an image, a symbol - - in the most literal sense they are human beings, but they are human beings with a murderer's mentality, sanctioned, disciplined, unleashed by the ruling class of society to keep the oppressed in line, through terror whenever necessary and as the "bottom line', as they like to say. Terror against the oppressed is even a special reward for "carrying out the dangererous and thankless duty" of being the "thin blue line" between "civilization on the one side and anarchy and lawlessness on the other." Think about it: terror against the oppressed is not just part of the job, its also a reward. That is one of the deeper meanings of the instruction given by a veteran pig to a rookie, Go on shoot him -- it's free!".

Credibility is shot 30.Mar.2004 20:18

when you leave out the facts

Robert King was stabbed through the arm by a suspect he was trying to take into custody.

You can spin all you want about the shooting of unarmed people, but you are never going to sell that an officer doesn't have the right to shoot someone who just stabbed him through the arm as he tried to block the blow.

response to "when you leave out the facts" 30.Mar.2004 21:19

personally

I don't recall it quite the way you do. Maybe you're recall is
self-serving or serving towards King. If you are so sure of the
so-called FACTS you purport, then how about doing a copy/paste to
this webpage and prove it. Anyone can grab a keyboard and write
what you wrote...even King could, and how do we know he didn't?
Let's see your prove, shall we?

How about 30.Mar.2004 22:04

Facts

I notice you don't make the same request of the people who claim King murdered someone for no apparent reason.

For the record, I did an internet search and was not surprised to find nothing having to do with Robert King's shooting. It's not surprising because it happened 12yrs ago, before most news agencies had websites.

I can claim my description as fact because, well, it is. I guess I'll throw it back at ya and say that you're free to cut and paste and prove me wrong.

I did find this, for what it's worth...(and from an anti-cop site) 30.Mar.2004 22:09

Facts

 link to www.stolenlives.org


"Unidentified Man
December 15, 1991. Portland:
The unidentified man was shot several times and killed by Portland Police Officer Robert King after the officer stopped a car that was supposedly involved in a shoplifting incident. The victim was a passenger in the car who allegedly stabbed Officer King in the shoulder before he was shot."

Am just websurfing thorough and reading as I go 30.Mar.2004 22:46

BUT

seriously, I don't think www.stolenlives.org is really an anti-
cop website by any stretch of the imagination. It's funded, or
was, by law-enforcement grants! So, it's hardly the unbiased
source you there "Facts" seek to cast it as being. OOPS????

stolen lives is anti-police-brutality 31.Mar.2004 04:34

just the fax ma'am

For better or worse, Stolen Lives is a Revolutionary Communist Party project, like the Oct. 22 Coalition. It's hardly neutral on the spectrum of pro- vs. anti-establishment thought. Maybe they got a grant from whoever, but that's what it is. I think "ultra-leftist" is the term from the AP Stylebook, or "radical" is what Safire would call it. And all of us.

Don't ya think we should wait...... 31.Mar.2004 08:22

Anonymous

until all the facts are in? More than likely the officer felt threatened and had good reason. You do realize if this had been a white man, there would have been no outrage, no mention of it at all.

no, sorry there ANONYMOUS, as I don't 31.Mar.2004 10:39

think

we should wait! Wait for what? There is already enough "facts" in that highlights the FACT that some-
thing is seriously wrong with this incident. Why else the police themselves, the political leaders, and
the public outcry that has brought about an FBI Investigation and an Open Inquiry?

As for the officer feeling "threatened" as you say, I don't doubt that; but I do doubt that he had, as
you say, "good reason". Where is the proof that he had "good reason"? It's NOT there and that's why
we need to keep hammering away and keeping the pressure on so that we get the REAL "facts" and not just
contrived and made-up after-the-fact "facts" that are not likely to be true. Where is justice or for
that matter, accountability, when such is given as "facts" No! Let's get the real deal...the real facts
and I think that's what all this is about.

As for me, had it been, as you posed a "white man" then rest assured I'd still have been outraged as I
am with the situation as it is, and for that matter, even if it'd been a green Martian, I'd still be so,
for what is issue here is JUSTICE. Would you agree?

No anonymous 31.Mar.2004 14:07

Killing's not okay

If he were a white man, killed in the same manner, with us knowing the same things from eyewitnesses, there would be this amount of outrage. There just wouldn't be the element of racism present since both cops are white.

What makes you think people in Portland think it's okay for the police to kill unarmed citizens of any color?

In case you think it's okay, I'm telling you IT"S NOT!