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Rally and March Today !!! 4:00pm-6:00pm Downtown

The rally is scheduled to begin at the Multnomah County Courthouse at 4:20 p.m. The march, which begins about 5 p.m., will head north on SW 4th Avenue and continue to SW Taylor Street. From there, marchers will head westbound on Taylor to SW 9th Avenue and southbound on SW 9th Avenue to Salmon Street.
Demonstrators plan to gather in downtown Portland to protest a Multnomah County grand jury's decision on Thursday not to indict a police officer who shot and killed an African-American motorist during a traffic stop.

Placards outside the Multnomah County Courthouse, where a grand jury met to deliberate a Portland police shooting case.

After hearing testimony from 40 witnesses for three days, the grand jury didn't have enough evidence to send the case to trial or seek criminal charges against Portland Police Bureau Officer Jason Sery, who shot James Jahar Perez on March 28.

The rally and march are scheduled for 4-6 p.m. and will wind through downtown streets to Pioneer Courthouse Square. The demonstration is expected to be peaceful, but it belies the depth of anger, frustration and anxiety that many north and northeast Portland residents feel towards the decision.

"We have to look at the fact that we aren't really too sure we can trust our (district attorney) when he's never, ever brought down an indictment," said demonstration organizer Charles McGee.

Charles McGee is helping organize a demonstration protesting a grand jury's decision not to indict a Portland police officer involved in the shooting of an African-American man during a traffic stop. (KGW Photo)

The rally is scheduled to begin at the Multnomah County Courthouse at 4:20 p.m. The march, which begins about 5 p.m., will head north on SW 4th Avenue and continue to SW Taylor Street. From there, marchers will head westbound on Taylor to SW 9th Avenue and southbound on SW 9th Avenue to Salmon Street.

It is unknown how many people will attend the rally, said Pastor T. Allen Bethel, president of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, a coalition of north Portland religious leaders.

Also Online

Grand jury clears Portland cop

Officer Sery named in previous suit

Autopsy: Perez had cocaine in system

Portland's 1985 inquest

District attorney's statement

Portland police chief's statement

Portland police union's statement

Portland city council's statement

"I hope the whole city shows up," Bethel said.

With the grand jury refusing to hand up an indictment, the need for an outside investigation by federal authorities into the Portland police department grows even more, said Roy Jay, president of the African-American Chamber of Commerce, which is Oregon's largest minority business group.

The chamber, the NAACP and Portland Police Chief Derrick Foxworth have asked the FBI or the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene. He does not know if the FBI has begun a probe into the Portland police.

"We continue to stick to our position that the only way they can get some real factual information is to bring in the Department of Justice through the FBI and do an independent investigation," Jay said on Friday.

Jay called the planned public inquest, which begins next Wednesday, "a joke."

Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk said an inquest would follow if the grand jury returned with no indictment of Sery. Schrunk has vowed to make public all the information he can about the shooting investigation through the inquest.

But the inquest's limited authority, under Oregon law, means testimony taken during the public proceedings can't be used in any civil or criminal prosecution. The inquest will not reach conclusions on whether Sery was justified in using deadly force.

"It is limited to the name of the deceased, where and when he was killed, and the cause and manner of death," Schrunk said on Thursday.

The inquest could last three or four days and will include the 40 witnesses interviewed by the grand jury this week. Sery is also expected to testify during the inquest.

"It's a joke," Jay said. "What real purpose does an inquest serve? That should be the main concern of not just people in northeast Portland but everybody else."

Despite the tension, the streets in northeast Portland have been calm since the grand jury reached its decision late Thursday afternoon.

African-American ministers, who have taken a leadership role in the community, have urged their congregations to seek peaceful means to express their disillusionment with the Portland police and the grand jury, Jay said.

"I'm very proud of our community," he said. "I know the emotional temperatures are extremely high, but I think we don't want to see Portland turn into a Houston or Cincinnati or Cleveland, where there was talk about police brutality and striking back... Violence leads to nothing at all."
Violence 23.Apr.2004 16:49

Jack

Well, violence could lead to the destruction by fire of a lot of valuable real estate, which might make an impression on the business people who run Portland as if it were their own private club. It has happened in a lot of other cities. If it does happen, though, I don't think it will be organized. It will be spontaneous. Someone will just decide they've had enough and start the festivities with a good fire, and others will join in. My impression is that Portland is very near the fire point.

This would also be a good way to drive a lot of the yuppies out of the city, so house prices and rents would come down and poor people could afford to live there. Nothing like fire to discourage gentrification.

Pee in This Cup and Make a Fist 23.Apr.2004 18:51

Hawkeye

I haven't looked at every IMC posting on this tragic, gross failure of government (some redundancy, there), and apologize if it's an old question.

We have regular association in the reports of the name of the victim with a selected component of his alleged blood chemistry at time of death, as if it's part of his name: " James Jahar Perez who-had-cocaine-in-his-blood."

Why shouldn't the slaying of a citizen by a public employee entail an immediate post-event medical exam of the slayer, in addition to the all too routine debriefing report when a cop fires a gun?

Drivers, pilots and navigators operating commercial surface, air and marine transportation are required to submit to a test for substances in body fluids when they are involved in accidents, for instance. In this age of "performance enhancers" it is becoming more and more part of the job, so that USAF pilots self medicate to "fly high" and combat troops have access to "alertness" or "sedating" substances during times of irregular schedules and long duty cycles. Do we know anything about the state of body chemistry of a public employee, sanctioned to use deadly force, at times that are becoming more and more cases of superjudicial execution?

What was in Jason Sery's blood when he drew his gun an blasted away a person sitting in a car seat who was displaying no weapon? What "fog of war" was Jason Sery in?

Hey pee in a cup 24.Apr.2004 10:14

Jonesy

Heard on KBOO:Cops can't be drug tested.It's in their contract,can you fucking believe that?

Hired Guns 24.Apr.2004 13:27

Hawkeye

That reinforces the understanding all the more that the members of civil law enforcement institutions are more mercenary--free agents paid for from public funds in the service of the capitalist establishment status quo--than civil service employees. Might as well be Wackenhuts or Pinkertons--or Blackwaters!

They have their cops, where are ours?

Two interesting ideas 24.Apr.2004 14:10

guffman

The shooters have all seemed to reach for lethal force DAMN quick. What was in their bloodstream?? Great question, kinda obvious now that it's out there on the table. Maybe it's just a bad case of coffee nerves.... Testing: yes.

Gated communities have their own security all the time. The un-gated communities of NoPo could as well, if neighborhood associations had the $$. (Maybe federal money thru Patriot Act/Nat Security alibi?)