portland independent media center  
images audio video
feature article reporting portland metro

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

"Papers Please"

A few days ago, as I was walking through town on my way home from work, I noticed a police cruiser slowly gliding past O'Bryant square, otherwise known as Stark Park. The officers inside were riveted on something, and came to a stop near the park. I followed their gaze and saw two other officers and two plain-clothed people standing in the park. The officers in the cruiser stepped out and walked up to the scene.

I've learned from past experiences that it's never cool to just walk by when Portland cops are circling. One never knows what they will do when they think no one is watching. I decided to stop and bear witness to whatever they might be up to. I wandered into the park from another corner and saw that they were surrounding a young man who was hunched over on a park bench. He was wearing a hoody and carried a worn back pack. One of the officers began digging through his pack as the plain-clothed men laughed and looked on. They kept looking over at me as I casually leaned on the cement wall nearby, clearly out of "interference" range. Despite the rain, I stood and observed while they eventually clamped cuffs on the boy's arms and the cruiser cops marched him away.

About that time, one of the officers began to walk toward me.
read more>>