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Alan Graf's Press Conference Speech rebutted

Graf's high-sounding proud article reflects, to a large degree, what's wrong with America. His inference is that the suit regarding use of chemical agents during protest movements has somehow changed Portland police's views and policies. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Alan Graf's speech, copied to Indymedia, is full of misrepresentations. The plain fact is that the suit failed miserably to accomplish anything of real or lasting value.

The plaintiffs, with the exception of Lloyd Marbet, were satisifed with a cash payment and no changes in the Police Department policies and practices, nor were the guilty parties punished in any way. The litigants settled by using the tax payer's money and calling it done. Tax payer money isn't the problem; police brutality and poor decision making is the problem. This suit in no way effects either of the two. In fact, it simply reinforces the City position that it can buy its way out of any problem, and that criminal actions by City employees can be ignored.

Graf, the attorney, seems to think an exchange of money solves all ills. I suggest Mr. Graf develop a sense of integrity and work for public justice, not cash. None of the criminal actors received any kind of penalty at all. That's not justice. Only Mr. Marbet had the intelligence and integrity to stand for what is right.

Portland won this round, pure and simple. The intent was to damage the citizen's right to protest and they were successful. A few dollars from the tax base means nothing to them. Until "our" attorneys realize that, it's futile to file a suit against this city of facists.
I AGREE 02.Dec.2004 11:34

./

We pay the officers massive overtime money to harass protesters, then we pay the protesters for being harassed. This is misuse of taxpayer dollars. How about training the officers how to deal with a peacful protest and spending the extra money on something useful, like joining Canada.

disagree 02.Dec.2004 11:38

kf

the suit doesn't cancel out the possibility of effecting change. though in a country where police can pepperspray crowds, shoot projectiles into crowds, kill people by mistake or on purpose, and torture teenagers locked to a stump on video, and no criminal charges are filed, nothing but complete change will work and that will never happen until the media is shunted, and the reality is shown to the common person.

until the policy of cops not being automatically charged criminally in the exact same way a civilian would be, nothing will change. a lawsuit regardless of how effective or ineffective will ever accomplish that. just trying to change police policies is ineffective, until they see real and direct consequences those who enjoy this kind of thing won't stop. either direct consequences through procecution or other means.

none of this means people shouldn't be compensated.

rebuttal to rebuttal 02.Dec.2004 12:00

dude

1. your opinion has no standing.

rebuttal to your rebuttal 02.Dec.2004 12:01

ne1

No, the real problem we have is that people would rather whine than act creatively and intelligently, and sling mud and pick nits with the people who are already doing so. Have a little vision! Let me offer you a very realistic scenario how this judgment can be very useful:

On December 9, at 9am the Multnomah County supervisors will meet at the county building (501 SE Hawthorne) to approve a unanimous resolution condemning the unconstitutional elements of the "Patriot" act. At this meeting, members of the public are encouraged to attend and offer their support to the resolution. It's a symbolic resolution, but supervisors have indicated that if the measure enjoys an outpouring of public support, they can take further measures to protect our civil liberties. Here are some further measures they and the city can take:

No more police protection for controversial federal government officials! The city and county cannot afford to expose itself to the legal liability of cooperating with the Secret Service under the auspices of the Bush regime, and its record of blatant abuse of civil liberties (hold up The Oregonian headline "City pays 300,000 to settle lawsuits" for emphasis). Any request for local cooperation from federal law enforcement including SS must be approved in advance by an oversight committee of local elected officials, and they must negotiate strict and unambiguous protocols for this cooperation in advance in order to protect citizen's civil liberties, and present a bill for the city's services to the feds. If the feds don't accept, let them take a hike or use their own goon squads, because they won't get any help from Portland or Multnomah County! No more local cops pepper spraying babies!

Let the city appoint a Citizen's Review Board to investigate public complaints of civil liberties abuses by the federal government. This panel could review cases and recommend that the city intervene in a supportive way where appropriate (e.g., with amicus briefs) for local citizens whose rights have been violated by the Bush regime.

No more blank check to the Joint Terrorist Task force! The JTTF has a record of sloppy, politically motivated cases that suggest that it is liable to become little more than yet another Red Squad, doing a lot more to hurt the civil liberties of ordinary citizens than to stop "terrorists." Require that any activities involving it be undertaken on a case-by-case basis, and approval in advance by an oversight committee of publicly elected officials. (Wave headlines about the Mayfield case and other botched blunders for emphasis).

Other ideas? Just think a little, use your imagination! There's a brand new city council in Portland now, two new Commissioners, a new mayor, really a blank slate on which we could draw our vision for our city and county, if we act creatively and diligently. And the headlines really couldn't be more propitious. So quit whining! We owe Alan Graf a great deal of gratitude for this.

strategy, my friend... 02.Dec.2004 12:06

empire slayer

robert,

i think your points are very well taken. i am not involved with this case, but i am an acquaintance of several of these people. i don't think any of them, including alan graf, believe that the money from this suit alone will solve the serious problems of police accountability in this city. but this suit sets a precedent that when the police infringe on the rights of citizens, the city will be hit in the pocketbook. what this suit accomplishes is send a MESSAGE to the city that there are monetary consequences to their current course of action. i don't think that the portland police or vera katz give a shit about the "protestors", they only truly care about protecting the "business" community. but hitting the city in the pocketbook WILL get their attention, and if it happens again they MAY take steps to make reforms, if only to stop the bleeding of their accounts.

maybe i am cynical, but this seems an effective [although unfortunate] strategy to force change in an organization that has no regard for civil liberties.

Lloyd K. Marbet 's letter to the editor- the guy is amazing 02.Dec.2004 12:11

Joe

You have to respect him , he walked away from the money looking for the higher good. The guy is amazing . So many of us would go for the cash.
Joe

To The Editor:

In the Oregonian's articles regarding the City of Portland paying $300,000 to settle the claims of the protesters, who like me were violently assaulted by the police for non-violently demonstrating, it mentions only me by name as being one of 12 plaintiffs who had lawsuits against the City of Portland. But the Oregonian never states the fact, that I opposed the settlement, withdrew my case (never being able to try it again), and I am not receiving a single cent from this settlement.

The Oregonian reported, with no substantiation whatsoever, that "the $300,000 is expected to be divided among the 12 plaintiffs" involved in the two rallies. This is false. I am one of the 12 plaintiffs and I am receiving nothing. Not only that, I have had to bear the cost of hiring a lawyer to replace the lawyers who failed to represent my interests in this matter.
I sought a settlement under which the City would admit that it violated the rights of peaceful protesters and would adopt changes in police policies and practices in order to protect the right to non-violently protest in the future. I wanted to help prevent others from being harmed as I had been. Instead, the City would offer only money, derived from taxpayers and redirected from social programs worthy of public support, rather than respect our Constitutional rights. I rejected the money.

Respectfully,

Lloyd K. Marbet

Shame on you 02.Dec.2004 12:18

Salamander

It is this article that is full of misrepresentations.

First, the job of the attorney is to represent their clients interests, not their own. Alan Graf has no say in that matter. If his client wants to settle, that is what happens and it is absurd to blame the lawyer for that.

Second, shame on you for such a dirty rotton post attacking Alan Graf's character. He has plenty of integrity and worked incredibly hard to bring about this victory. Though not the victory people would have liked, it is still a victory.

Third, the activist lawyers in this city have helped so many people, often for no money at all. Shame on you a second time for your crude character assasinations.

Overlooks outcome 02.Dec.2004 12:20

gk

As much as I respect the author of this article, I think he is too harsh on the attorneys, the plaintiffs and all who worked so hard to bring justice to peaceful protesters. The attorneys' costs that the City will have to pay has not been determined, but it is said to be exceedingly high ater 2.5 years of litigation. Once citizens see the actual costs, they ought to question the use of force by Portland police.

I continue to praise all who worked on this, and am glad for a monetary outcome. I see Marbet's point, though, in not being bought off. Perhaps it was understood the City never would have agreed to any contract to change and I turn my opinion over to those who made that decision, and thank them, regardless.

Peace will prevail as will justice. I will continue to be afraid of the Portland police, and this is a sad way to feel about those who are supposed to protect us, not attack us.

PS. I do see the swastika on the cop's cap. This is sick, and so is our country.

Alan Graf said... 02.Dec.2004 12:59

kboo listener

on KBOO this morning, Alan Graf said "Listen, Lloyd is an anti-nuke activist, not a police accountability activist. He doesn't understand how these things work."

who disrespects who?

agreed 02.Dec.2004 13:02

.

i think the people who were hurt by the cops deserve to be compensated. and i'm happy that some underpaid lefty lawyers made a few bucks, too.

but this is a legal victory, not a political victory.

Alan Graf is right 02.Dec.2004 13:08

ne1

Alan Graf is an attorney, not a member of the city council. Alan Graf can't force them to legislate or change policies in a lawsuit. WE AS CITIZENS CAN DO THAT! When the brand new city council, with a promising new mayor and new commissioners, meets in January, we can march in there, wave the headlines of The Oregonian in their faces, and demand changes! That's how it works. Alan Graf knows this, and he has handed us a powerful gift with this headline-making humiliation of the city in court, at a perfect time too. Had he held out for more, we would not have this opportunity now.

The real problem we face is an internal psychological one. Activists have sour grapes, lack vision, and indulge in oppositional thinking. This leads to truly corrosive results, like berating someone like Alan Graf, who does the heavy lifting for us to present us powerful opportunities like this one, which, instead of celebrating, we turn our noses up at! "Not good enough!" we say. This kind of attitude is what is truly destructive and impedes our hopes of bringing about positive change.

Pleae read the statement 02.Dec.2004 13:24

Some guy

You can find a link to the statement read by Alan at the press conferance here:

http://www.hippielawyer.com/

Alan has clearly stated that he does not feal any substantial change in policy has occured yet as a result of this setlement.


grandmother of pepper-sprayed baby speaks up 02.Dec.2004 13:30

Sally Joughin sjoughin@earthlink.net, peopleagainstinjust@earthlink.net

As the grandmother of the pepper-sprayed baby, I want to add my comment on the outcome of the lawsuit. I live 3,000 miles from Portland in New Haven CT and am a longtime peace activist & criminal justice activist who has participated in many peaceful protests myself. I am very proud of my son and daughter-in-law and the other plaintifs, and grateful to the National Lawyers Guild lawyers, who all pursued this case against police brutality for 2 years. Similar police misconduct goes on all over the country, and it is very important to win cases like this. Unfortunately it was not possible to get concrete on-paper policy changes with this suit, but you can be sure that your current and future city governments will think more carefully about what behaviors they sanction if they know the voters' money will have to be paid out when the people's rights are abused. A win also empowers others to stand up for their rights in the future. No doubt about it, this monetary settlement is an admission of wrongdoing, and every victory for justice is an important victory.

have you heard the news, the dogs are dead! 02.Dec.2004 13:34

i got some bad news for you sunshine

stay at home and do what you are told, get out of the road if you want to grow old. you are right robert tice. you can lead sheep to the watering hole but they dont know how to think and their sheperds party on. sheep cant change the way they are, and lets face it, they are just as much the problem. sheep think they can mantain their field by shitting all over it, problem is their minds are poisoned and their crap is toxic. they are nearsighted, and shit on others green pastures. and wonder why the wolves keep snapping them up. there is only one good sheperd, be one with that sheperd for there are many within. or keep making the same mistakes sunshine, and stay on the path, and keep off the grass. watch pigs take wing when things really start heating up. what airline do you prefer allen?

Get Real 02.Dec.2004 17:15

Dr. E outsideAG@gmail.com

"The plain fact is that the suit failed miserably to accomplish anything of real or lasting value."

I don't know about you, but I call $300,000 a very "real" accomplishment.

You cry for the tax payers. Fuck the taxpayers. If they choose to support the police, then they deserve to go down with those who they support. Let them bleed from their wallets like the poor bleed on the streets. It may not be justice, but it is a lesser-degree of injustice.

And if your serious about fighting the Portland Police Bureau, who spent $118 million dollars last fiscal year, don't you think it might be a good idea to have some money to take them on with?

When you're in a war, do you become dispirited because your victory in a single battle was not decisive enough? Of course not. You celebrate your victory, and prepare for the next battle. And that is what everyone should be doing now.

One Nation Under Educated 02.Dec.2004 18:21

marc mbatko@lycos.com

Thanks, Alan, for your passion!
The police and corporations should be under the law, not operating under the "higher law" of fear psychology and lost profits,
The state ought to protect freedom of conscience and help those caught under the wheel (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).
According to Arundhati Roy in "Escaping the Abyss", India paid Enron $220 mill a year for energy that was never produced and is being sued by Bechtel and GE for over $5 bill for lost profits. Apparently the US govt is only defending the interests of the elite while corporations through tax evasion (subsidies) leave the states in deficits.
The state has a social nature and cannot only be a power and security state.
if the free moral state is different from the national security state.
Liberation theology emphasizes the ethics of resistance and solidarity. Kairos time (the time of decision) replaces everyday time. The resistance traditions can give us strength in a time of passivity, fatalism and repression.
Thanks, Alan, for an important victory, a step on the way to justice and reordering priorities in this time of economic depression.

http://www.mbtranslations.com
http://www.commondreams.org

why is this happening again? 02.Dec.2004 20:33

ally

I keep seeing posts here in which someone disses somebody else for not toeing their idea of the activist line and I always think "why?" Isn't the idea behind decentralized affinity group-type organizing that we get to retain our individuality? We can come together with others to work on agendas of interest to us all then dissolve and go on to something else possibly with other allies in a different configuration. Let's not be basing our relationships on the big daddy nuclear family model or we will continuously be seeking divorce. There are better ways.

Excuses 03.Dec.2004 01:38

George Bender

People attack other activists as a way of excusing themselves from doing anything. The idea is to make any effort appear hopeless. It's easier to fight with other activists than with our enemies. Also, these people aren't very bright.

If you compare 03.Dec.2004 03:57

==

If you compare what Graf said with what Tice says he said, you will find that Graf is not the one full of misrepresentations.

Dissing others may be excusive. More important, it is behaviour we have been carefully taught, to keep us divided and stupid.

more reasons for attack 03.Dec.2004 08:46

kurtkabang

don't forget that "activists" also attack other activists because they are cops or fbi agents doing the best they can to create infighting amongst successful hardworking progressive groups. this tactic has been documented for years. all they need is one or two cops pulling the strings, calling people "sellouts" or whatever, and we activists jump on the bandwagon of pointing fingers at others, even though we mostly agree with them. let's admit it, we activists love to be critical and we're quite good at it. when we see an opportunity to criticize anyone, even people we agree with (and even if the opportunity is presented by undercover cops) we jump on it.

the worst part is, we never learn from the past. looks like it may have happened again, here.

kurt

C'Mon 03.Dec.2004 10:47

some kid

we all want to see tangible and lasting change in the police department, but I don't see how this case can do that. When was the last time a portland officer saw a jail cell for something s/he did on duty? I was told it happened once in the 70s but I still haven't seen anything to back that up. I'd take the cash over nothing.

Perspective 03.Dec.2004 13:43

CatWoman

On August 22nd, 2002, the police officers sworn "to serve and protect" pepper sprayed our babies. They visciously assaulted the people of this city in an unforgettable orgy of bloodlust. Draped in the padded, black ritual garb of the cult of global domination, they unleashed whole arsenals of what they euphemistically call "less lethal weapons." And they did it all to protect the bush regime from the voice of the people, and to protect a few millionaires from the "smell" of those "icky protesters." The corporate media nodded along, calling us "loiterers," "malcontents," and worse, even blaming us for bringing our children to be exposed to the chemicals doused upon them by the police. Some of their street reporters were as wet with pepper spray as we were, but their broadcasts were as bland and lifeless as if they were reporting the weather. While KATU parroted the PIO's assertion that they had done nothing wrong, KPTV's Beth English demanded that the police learn to tell "real" reporters like her from the rest of the rabble, so they would not pepper spray her again.

Similarly, in March of 2003, the local minions of the global class war dragged people off sidewalks and beat them in the streets if they dared to resist the war we were all being dragged into. More than 100,000 people died in Baghdad while the PPB brutally silenced any and all dissent against the massacre. Many people were sadistically attacked with chemical weapons, though they had committed no crime other than believing in their constitutional right to free assembly.

Something must be done.

No, $300,000 is not nearly enough. And yes, the legal system is still the system, which cannot be reformed. Certainly there is room for questioning the wisdom of putting all our hopes into a few lawsuits. And yes, there is much more that can, and must be done to stop the brutal thugs in riot gear that keep showing up in our streets. But having said that, I take my hat off for Alan, and for the people who had the courage and the will to MAKE THEM PAY.

Yeh, yeh, I know, I get all squeamish about lawyers profiting off the misery of others too. But tell me what else has been done in the 2+ years since A22 to hold those monsters accountable? Listen, when someone's got my back, I'm grateful. And every time I find myself facing down the mesomorphs in the streets of Portland (or wherever else), I'm fucking grateful to see the green hats of the legal observers behind me. Just as I'm grateful today that Alan and the defendants stuck it out this far and made the city pay. As a person who works with the city's poor, I'm also grateful that Lloyd thought about where the money is likely to come from, but the $300,000 price tag is gonna make a lot more frantic policy changes at the PPB than a few polite words on paper might have.

This settlement not only guarantees some second thoughts before anyone authorizes the pigs to mow down protesters in the streets again, it also exposes the lies told by the corporate media on A22 and in the dark days of March, 2003. If things happened the way they said they did, why on earth is the city willingly forking over 300Gs?

So yeh, I agree that there's more to do. I agree that legal solutions are usually only about tweaking something that cannot be fixed. And I laud Lloyd Marbet for not taking the money. But that doesn't mean we can't acknowledge a battle won, and an activist lawyer who has earned some congratulations.

Hats off, Alan!

Full Statement Regarding Proposed Settlement by Lloyd Marbet 03.Dec.2004 20:46

Joe

Not sure if this will help , it Lloyd's full statment. Do Adobe files work here ? Guess i will know in a few
Full Statement Regarding Proposed Settlement by Lloyd Marbet
Full Statement Regarding Proposed Settlement by Lloyd Marbet

Nov. 3rd protests 05.Dec.2004 02:02

Adam Vavrus vavrooski@yahoo.com

If any one has any video of the Nov. 3rd protests downtown, I would greatly appreciate your speaking with me. I was assaulted by the Portland police down on 2nd and Burnside, they threw me to the ground and pepper sprayed me. Now they are charging me with a few things I did not do, and want me to pay them $5000. If you have video, or know someone who has video, please contact me or have them contact me.
Peace out ya'll, Adam Vavrus

to adam 06.Dec.2004 10:16

anonymous videoista

yes, there is some video footage of various arrests. they should be in alan graf's hands shortly, if not already. please contact him to see if they can help you.