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

actions & protests | bikes/transportation | police / legal

Halloween Critical Mass

Past time to take a stand
It is past the time to take some form of legal and/or subversive action against the City of Portland and their aggressive rude police bureau that continues to practice illegal discriminatory tactics against Critical Mass. The Halloween ride was just the culmination of the months of oppressive police tactics that often have no judicial support. Last night there were the standard trumped up citations, unwarrented physical 'attacks' and arrests, disruptions to the bystanding society at the expense of fun loving cyclists celebrating their legal right to ride en mass, and an arrogant over-reactive motorcyle crazed police wing.
Let us all find a forum to organize and put some fire under the HEAT and get them back to 'Serving and Protecting the citizens whom pay their salaries' and STOP this monthly illegal and unwarrented harrassment!! (You can gain access to police dispatch calls......and I bet VERY FEW every are complaining about Critical Mass)

I will assist in this cause. I will schedule a meeting with Commander Mike Garvey; Traffic Commander and Mike Hess of the Independent Police Review after the elections are over and a new mayor and councilman are elected. Other tactics are needed from legal, press support, subversive yippy motivated pranks, resistence, etc....Peace and Resist yttocs
hold potter's feet to the fire 30.Oct.2004 09:02

cyclist

Harassment of CM ending would be a good indicator of Potter's intent and efficacy at cleaning up PoPo. It would certainly be a great place to start.

Massive Threat 30.Oct.2004 12:18

Dean-o

The first person to be arrested last night was pulled over initially for not having a bike light. The cops cuffed him while he was still standing over his bike and proceeded to try to pull his bike out from underneath him, expecting his handlebars to magically find their way through his legs.

Six or seven gorilla cops were on him, one skinny activist. While watching them, I noticed two of the cops bumping fists (like the supertwins used to do on Super Friends). Yeah, congrats guys. Job well done. Six or seven of you thugs managed to man-handle one young guy.

My companions and I were the first ones to the mass that day. While we were waiting for everyone else, two bicycle cops rolled up, asking if we were going to be it for the day. They said they were disappointed because they were looking forward to this. And I believe they actually were and not just in the thuggish crush-em way. I don't like cops as a general rule but I do think that the bike cops are pretty cool with the mass generally, at least more so than the motor pigz. What threat does Critical Mass actually pose that couldn't be handled by some bike traffic cops?

I would personally love to ride every month cop-free but I don't think that's going to happen. I would settle for riding with just the bike-cops there. As it is, I'm probably not going back for a while because I hate riding with the motor pigz that much and I know several other massers/ex-massers/potential massers that feel the same way.

Legal Observer 30.Oct.2004 15:21

Thad B

I was one of the legal observers there. I sincerely feel like anyone who got a ticket (me included) should take some collective action. I am not a consistent mass rider, but I would be willing to help organize and keep track of folks. If someone is interested in this please email me at  tbetz@lclark.edu

Most folks got tickets for not having lights, I'm not sure how you could challenge this (maybe someone else does). Others recieved tickets for not changing lanes properly. I myself received a ticket for not having lights on my bike, even though I had them on me! What a joke--of course the cops simply didn't like the idea of me being there, and I'll laugh at them in court.

Final Warning: beware of Officer Taylor, a short, vicious cop with a chip on her shoulder for massers. If you fuck with her, she will either assault you (I witnessed this several times) or arrest you.

See you all next month!

I ride Critical Mass. 30.Oct.2004 18:38

Skwaraz

Yes, another month of police bullying at Critical Mass in our fair liberal city.

But will I stop riding? Hellll no! PDX CM for me has become a matter of cyclists civil rights. The tickets handed out at mass are for minor infractions, and in no way does CM warrant this overwhelming police attention and harassment. This is _systematic harassment_ of cyclists. And I will not stand for it, and I bloody hell won't stop riding Critical Mass because of it.

It's understandable to be disgusted and discouraged by what PDX Critical Mass has become. But if we stop riding, then we lose; our spirit of bike fun and playful civil disobediance crushed and so much we hate and strive against wins (like heavy-handed police, car culture, business-controlled city government, etc., etc.).

If you think it's gotten too nasty, maybe you'd rather go watch TV, or drive to the mall and buy some brand name sweat shop clothes, or throw your ballot in the trash. Me, I'll be there, ringing my bell, whooping, whistling, and letting the PoPo cops know that the Portland bike community will not kept down.

A new wave of resistance to this police brutality is rising. I really want to thank the legal observers last night. I was so god damn excited when I saw the LOs recording the events of cyclists being ticked, shoved, pushed to the ground and arrested. It will take more than just legal observers to take back Mass, but if we move on enough fronts, we can make Mass the celebration that it is meant to be. Legal observers, media coverage, pressure on city government, a wake-up call to the Portland Business Alliance, photos of Portland finest posted on Indymedia, and getting the word out to more cyclists.

I'd love to hear more productive ideas. And watch Indymedia.

I'm also looking for Critical Mass resistance songs and chants, to keep the oppressed bike spirit strong. Does anyone know of any, or better yet, care to create some?

What would I be if they took my bike from me?
-Consumer, Taxpayer, Voter, Critical Mass Rider


PDX Critical Mass: 5:30PM last Friday _every_ month, North Park Blocks...Be there, Ride, Represent.

I am not a rider, but I happened to observe the 30.Oct.2004 18:58

police brutality

involved and I am appalled at what I saw! The Portland Police have lost one more citizen that
gives a damned for them. From now on, my attitude is FUCK THEM!

Repost: Seeking officer info for a formal complaint 30.Oct.2004 19:08

Levi

Hey gang --

(Posted this once already in another discussion thread, but I thought this might be a better location to get a response. I'm in 100% agreement with Thad B. regarding officer Taylor -- she's bad news, kids. I've got a few ideas for next CM which I'll post in a few days when I get them worked out. --Levi)


Original Message Follows:
---------------------------
Did anybody happen to get the full name or badge number of Officer Taylor (blonde, 5'6" or so, bike cop)? I was the guy on the yellow Trek MTB who she was shoving around under the bridge -- did anyone out there see this, and would you be willing to be listed as a witness on the complaint form? (Judging by all the crowd noise when it happened, SOMEone certainly saw it!)

Also, if anyone else out there is interested, there's a formal process that you can go through to file a complaint against an officer. (You can also file a commendation for an officer who you felt did a great job.) Just go to

 http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm...

and click on the appropriate link for more info, forms, etc.

Yeah, I'm not sure that just me filing a complaint is going to do any good, but I figure that if the Auditor's Office gets enough of these every month, someone's going to notice. When Officer Taylor shoved me and told me to get back because "I am a police officer, and you will do as I say," I thought to myself, "yeah, but I pay your wages, and I am paying careful attention to how you do your job."

Thanks,

--Levi

It seems obvious to me 30.Oct.2004 23:04

Sigmund

Officer Taylor is overdue for some time with an analyst.

If "I am a police officer, and you will do as I say" is an accurate quote, she is unfit for duty.

Ride on 31.Oct.2004 00:07

Him

It's encouraging to see y'all are still willing to go out there and deal with this shit.

Re: Levi, Re: Taylor 31.Oct.2004 08:16

shoved

I did not get a first name or ID number, but think I did her photo, and I will post it when I get it developed. Maybe GPFX will need it, since she appears to be a rising star.

Pics of Officer Taylor 31.Oct.2004 10:36

Levi

I managed to get a few pictures of Officer Taylor downtown near Pioneer Courthouse Square. It was at this point where someone (the guy in the second picture?) told her to grow up, and she responded, "Why should I? I get paid thirty dollars an hour to babysit you guys." That's professional, folks.

At this point a good number of people have stepped forward to bear witness to what they saw that evening, and a writer with the Oregonian has expressed interest in reporting on what happened as well. While I'm totally in favor of getting together in a leaderless, de-centralized fashion to ride Critical Mass, when it comes to speaking out against the unwarranted and unreasonable acts of harassment exemplified by Officer Taylor, well, we've got to stand together.

One complaint by itself won't bring about any changes, but a unified front of citizens responding with extensive testimony and documentation will. If anyone out there wants to step up and speak about what they've seen or been subject to in this or recent Critical Masses, please get in touch with either myself (email skinnbones--online8757 at mailblocks dot com) or Thad B., who posted above.

--Levi

Action Ideas for next Critical Mass 31.Oct.2004 11:24

Levi

(I tried posting this earlier, but something strange happened and the browser closed. hmm...)

Okay, here's what I'm planning to do in preparation for the next Mass:


1. The police seem to use citations for no lights/reflectors as justification for their overwhelming presence. While I can't afford to hand out headlights to everyone I see, I can certainly justify the cost of a roll of reflective red tape to save what tickets I can. A 4-5" strip on the back of a seatpost or seatstay makes for instant legal compliance and costs me only pennies per application.

2. Speaking of legal compliance, I'll be carrying a copy of the Oregon Department of Transportation's "Bicyclist's Manual" as well as a copy of relevant statutes relating to bicyclists. We've seen the police bending laws in the past (rear lights at Oct CM) and exploiting gray areas to issue citations. You can pick up a copy of the ODOT Bicyclist's Manual at some local bike shops and at state DMV locations, and the statutes are in the Oregon Vehicle Code, available at the library. (Check this site  http://www.odot.state.or.us/techserv/bikewalk/manual/ for online versions of these documents.)

2. I've heard of people handing out fliers to passersby at other Critical Masses, but I've never seen it done here. Judging from the public response to the rides I've been on, we're generating a lot of public support and curiosity when we ride by (particularly when people see police harassment in action). I'm going to make up a few pads of half-sheet fliers with some basic info about Critical Mass (who we are, why we're out on the street, meeting time, etc.) to give to the people who ALWAYS ask me what's going on.

3. And speaking of fliers, so many people who get tickets are first-time riders who have no idea what the law says or what to do now that they've been ticketed. Here's one possible solution: make up some third-sheet fliers with info on commonly-ticketed offenses (lighting, turn signals, impeding traffic, etc.) and how to prevent them; and include information on the legal statutes and publications in #2 above. Maybe while we're waiting for the Mass to start we can hand these out and talk about appropriate ways to respond to police harassment. (I've worked around that rabidly homophobic pastor Fred Phelps in the past, and there ARE some good ways to respond to outrageous behavior while staying fully on the right side of the law.)

4. Finally, the prevailing police tactic seems to be divide and conquer: they stop some unsuspecting rider and issue tickets as the rest of the Mass rides away, leaving the poor person to face them alone. Next time, let's show some solidarity and make sure that we don't leave anyone behind. When someone gets stopped, let's make sure that at least a few people are there to act as observers and supporters and advocates. It would be even better if we could get the whole Mass to stop on the sidewalk (leaving space for pedestrians, of course) and wait.


The point of all this is a collective addressing of the issues that are making CM more of an opportunity for a police foxhunt instead of the joyful gathering that it has the potential to be.

Does anyone want to help me out with these ideas? Does anyone else have any ideas to encourage positive change?

--Levi

hey gang, this 31.Oct.2004 17:13

Officer Taylor

lives in my apartment complex and she's known as a BITCH...no body likes her silly ass!

not that this always works 01.Nov.2004 08:06

*

Not that this will always work, but awhile ago i got a ticket for no lights and took it in, plead no contest, and went before the judge with my bike lights in hand. He threw it out as it was my first "offense". it was treated like a fix-it ticket. It might work for other people? maybe not if the cops trumped up charges or since it was during CM. good luck! anyways, i also agree with the issue brought up about solidarity. this past critial mass felt sort of divided at times. We definately need to be aware of eachother and what is going on. thanks for all the good thought posted above and see you all next time!

Ofcr Taylor's first name? 01.Nov.2004 09:58

Skwaraz

Does anyone know Officer Taylor's first name? Oregonian reporter Joe Rose would like to know. Is it Sarah?

anybody video tape my ass arrested at critical mass on halloween? 03.Nov.2004 15:47

Pete pfurst@lclark.edu

I was arrested by portland police on the halloween ride and Im thinking about pressing charges against the portland police department for aggressive use of force sort of thing. I was told there were a few people who video taped the incident so if you know about any of these videos please email me or call me immiediately. It occurred around Yam Hill by pioneer square around 6 or 7 where I was thrown off by bike and handcuffed and later locked in jail for 10 hours for possibly not having a light on my bike, (although i actually did have a light on at the time).

503-768-8821