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

human & civil rights | police / legal | resistance & tactics

Stopped on the way to SW Protest of TVS

cops harrass guy on the way to protest for no particle reason..
I was at the protest with my two kids when my partner approached me, he had just got out of school and rode the bus down to the protest to meet us. He said that he had gotten off the bus at about 35th and capital highway and was walking towards Gabriel Park when he spotted a squad car across the street who had just rolled down their car window. He thought they were going to say something but, they didn't, so he kept walking. The two officers then got out of their car and stopped him at the corner. One was officer Dobson. My partner was holding a glass jar of coffee, obviously brown coffee and they asked him, "What was in the cup?" and he said coffee. They then took it and smelled it and confirmed that yes, indeed, it was coffee. They then asked him where he was going and he said Blockbuster and they said, "you know there's a protest up there? You are going to be walking into a huge protest." They then asked him if he had any bombs, bazookas, grenades ect in his tiny school backpack. He said no and then they asked to search his backpack. He said, whatever, he had nothing to hide. They looked and then let him go and as he was walking away they said "we had to see what was in the glass you were so gingerly holding." Mind you, my partner was wearing a leather jacket with exploited on the back and 1/2 inch spikes on it as well. Weird coincidence he was stopped..

add a comment on this article

Ouch 09.Jan.2005 12:40

Colby

Sorry that happened to your partner, but in this case, I can kinda see why. The cops did not know how the skinheads were going to look because the rumor was that they were "Ghost Skins" who dress to blend in with others, apparently - and if they wanted to blend in with a typical protester, your partner's style of dress is one that is easily imitatable. There was another fellow in similar attire who was questioned by a protest participant if he was "one of them." Next time, perhaps he should carry some sort of sign that clearly indicates which "side" he is on - because I think there will be another protest next week, as the TVS have told the news that they will try again next week.

sorry to learn this terrible news 09.Jan.2005 13:28

but

you have to remember these cops aren't too bright...that's why their the PoPigs!

PIGGYS 09.Jan.2005 16:02

4 UR PROTECTION

perhaps the cop was just an asshole.

the cops were there to protect the skins 09.Jan.2005 16:16

evo

as far as i know, the police were not there to arrest skinheads. what the skins had planned was a flyering event, which is not illegal. the police were just there to make sure nothing illegal happened. considering that there were over 300 protesters and only a handful of skins, it seems as if they were there more for the skins' protection. so in this context, your partner would not have been stopped because they thought he was a skinhead. they just thought he was suspicious because of the way he looked. and they assumed because of his look that he was probably drinking alcohol. they assumed that it would be easy to get a citation, because cops choose similar looking people to harrass all the time. if the cops were doing their job, which in this instance was to maintain non-violence and freedom of speech, they wouldn't have stopped anyone headed to the protest. they would've just watched to make sure nothing went awry. or if you want to take it to the other extreme, they would've stopped everybody to make sure that they weren't a threat, including children and old ladies, like they are so unsuccessfully attempting in iraq.

not so much 09.Jan.2005 17:39

j.marie

exactly!! I see where the first person was coming from, however, from my experience and many others, it's pretty rare that the cops are seeking out nazis to keep everyone else safe..and secondly, as far as I have heard these ghost skins seek to blend in with the mainstream and go unnoticed, by cops and others, the last thing you want to do in avoiding cops is look anywhere near punk ect (fill in counterculture here)...I was stopped in eugene when there was an anarchist gathering, I had a shaved head and misfits sticker on the back of my car..you could say he wasn't profiling me, except for the fact that he stopped me and started chatting with me about the oil my car was burning, he was just casually chatting and saying that he has had the same prob with his car and on and on...and then just sent me on my way...of course he lost interest as soon as he saw my kid in the back and found out I was actually on my way to a parenting group and not a protest..he didn't ticket me or advise me, just b.s.' ed and sent me on my way...Also, the cops didn't have to be assholes if it was just out of concern of him being a bonehead...I just don't buy that they didn't know which "side" he was on..I lot of people at the protest were giving him weird looks as he approached, he was a little worried then too that someone was gonna come after him, but no one said anything..I don't think we should all have to bring signs to show which side we are on...if someone has a concern about someone, just address it..

the police duty 09.Jan.2005 19:28

sniffle

Your partner should feel luck it was only coffee. If he had doughnuts hidden in his backpack it would have been all over. The combination of coffee and doughnuts would have sparked a feeding frenzing.

don't let it happen again 09.Jan.2005 20:18

dude-

If a police officer asks if s/he can search your stuff ask him/her if you are being detained- and then say nothing more. If they refuse to respond you do not have to comply. Rarely will they give you a good reason.

Also, the police were searching PROTESTERs, not nazi-look alikes. They wanted to stop freedom fighters from bringing weapons into the protest... thats official police procedure. Most of the TVS have permits for concealed weapons anyhow.

Do they even exist? 09.Jan.2005 20:39

critical

Do these "ghost skins" even exist? It kinda sounds like a joke to me. I'm glad there are so many people who will get together to protest for unity, but maybe the "ghost skins" don't even exist, and the same Nazi folks who once took over indymedia are playing a more sophisticated game of baiting protesters... Dunno really.

search 10.Jan.2005 00:23

troll cop

Ok, lots of stuff here I want to comment on, but the simple things first. If a cop asks you for permission to search your bag, you do not have to give it. In all the years I have been a cop, nobody has ever declined to let me search, and I honestly do not know why. I have asked meth cooks for permission to search their apartment when they had active labs, and they said yes. FUCK! WHY do you let us do that? It is fine for us to ask, just like it is fine for you to say no! If we do not have PC to go further, we basically have to leave (though I never ask unless I have PC, just to give the person a chance to have a line on the arrest report that says "suspect voluntarily allowed me to search." Not that I care that much, I am just trying to be fair there.).

Ok, aside from that, these cops did some thing wrong, and some things right. I am a coffee nut (and yes, a donut guy too, but I AM a cop so that is expected). If you are carrying a hot cut of coffee, especially americano (most dense, thus most hot), you will carry it gingerly. Ditto for a cup of something you are afraid of (like, oh, piss or pepper broth or nitroglycerin). So asking to smell it was sorta sensible given the fact that you were walking to a location where a few asswipes were trying to recreate 1930's Germany.

And telling you about potential danger ahead is a good thing. I would thank them.

Searching you though, well. Hmmm. . . They had no PC to do so, but they did ask. Nothing wrong in asking, but there is a certain amount of duress when a lone Portlander is cofronted by two armed cops in a squad car (especailly since those cars are even more armed than the cops). I personally would have handled things different, but. . .

Actually, let me just say how I, as a cop, would have done things. I would have said hello, said "there is a nazi protest in the direction you are walking, it might be dangerous and I can no guarantee your safety there," and given your repsonse (like if you said "fuckin' cool!") would have asked for permission to sniff your coffee and search your pack. If you said no, I would have at that point basically said "thanks" and gotten your info (name, date of birth, etc) and made a note.

As a cop, it is my job to talk to people. Walk up and say "hi." People always have the right to walk away unless they are carrying a bazooka or so forth. It is in how these things are handled that makes the difference. Cops need to know when to back off, and people need to know when to say "polite conversation is over, fuck you, I am leaving."

And of course, you folks need to know when to file charges. We are not scared of lawsuits (well, I am, but I am not normal). Seems like they did things OK this time though, but that is just based on what I read, there could be more to this.

And on an unrelated note, Viva Quakers and their facination with trains.

"ghost skins" 10.Jan.2005 13:42

WCM

The ghost skin thing come from their website. If it ever comes back up without being hacked again and again you can read about them on their site. I don't know about the blending in thing. But from what I read, ghost skins are the top leadership.

add a comment on this article