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Police Use Drug Free Zones to Justify Offensive Searches of Women

I witnessed an offensive "pat down" of a woman in public by three PPB officers last Friday August 5, 2005
Last Friday, August 5, 2005 at about 6 PM, I witnessed a stop and pat down of a woman and her boyfriend by three PPB officers. I was in a parking lot between SW 10th and 11th on Salmon street when I noticed three officers and two police cars surrounding a young couple at the edge of the parking lot. I decided at that point to watch carefully what was taking place (and I advise others to do the same when the police are making a stop in your vicinity).

One of the officers was speaking with the couple while the other two were in the car donning blue plastic gloves. I knew that the use of the gloves was a precursor to a search. I did not see the what prompted the stop and the search but I noticed that the couple did not at all seem threatening to the police.

I then watched as the two police that were in the car get out and one of them walked over to the young woman who I estimate was about twenty five years old. She raised her arms up to her sides on command of the officer. The officer proceeded to pat her down. He felt her buttocks, he slid his hand over her frontal private parts, he put his hand in both of her front and back pockets and he slid his hand slowly down the inside of her thighs. He did not touch her breasts. He went through her pocket book. He did not find anything of interest.

After this ordeal was over, the woman collapsed on her boyfriend's shoulder bawling histerically. She was noticeably traumatized after being felt up in public by this officer.

While this was taking place, one of the officers noticed me watching the event and waived at me. I did not waive back but instead kept watching the events that took place. Apparently, the couple, with the permission of the police started to leave. I motioned them over to me and indicated to the couple that I was a lawyer and was interested in what happened to them.

At that point the cops pulled their cars up next to me and asked what I was up to. I told them that I was speaking with some people who could be my clients and "did they have a problem with that?"

The officer I spoke with then got defensive (he was the one who waived) and told me he had seen me on tv and knew about my work. I said fine and asked him what gave him the right to search a woman like that in public. He told me to read the police procedures which gave him the authority to do that. I asked for his name and the officers name who did the search.

He replied that they were both named Harris. The Harris who I spoke with was a younger fellow and the Harris who did the search was an older man who appeared to be in command at the scene.


The police left after that.

This scenario is not something new. In fact, it is a creature of a current policy to rid downtown of tweakers. The couple that was stopped fit a profile and the police go after them using any means possible at their disposal to intimidate and harrass people they believe are using illegal drugs.

I have no love of tweakers, but at the same time, I am offended at what I believe was a stepping over the line in terms of unconstitutional behavior by the police AND really offensive and disrespectful treatment of a young woman.

If anyone else has seen this pattern of behavior from the police OR has OR will take videos of similar events, I would appreciate a contact from you to the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center. We can be reached by telephone at 503-295-6400 or email to  info@nwcrc.org

Thanks

Alan

homepage: homepage: http://www.nwcrc.org


The Fourth Amendment - email to those who's history class missed it. 07.Aug.2005 17:17

xyster xysterxxavier@comcast.net

 http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/constitution.html
 http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/bill_of_rights.html
 link to www.archives.gov

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

img 07.Aug.2005 20:26

img

img

title 07.Aug.2005 22:26

bob

What exactly about this did you find unconstitutional? The constitution does protect against unreasonable searches, but what you describe doesn't sound like anything that doesn't happen a few hundred times a day; a simple pat-down. You yourself say the officer didn't even check the woman's breasts, though he may have been justified in doing so. It sounds like mostly what offends you is a male police officer touching a female for any reason. I hate to sound disingenuous, but officers do in fact have to touch people, men and women, to search them.

This happens all the time downtown... 07.Aug.2005 23:21

Jessica Z. McCloven

If your ever downtown a lot like I am you see these sort of things happen all the time. I've told people about this, friends, family, and so on and only a few people have ever done anything about it. The ones that I can think of off the top of my head, namely Indymedia folks that I've run into with video camera's (as well as a few others, you know who you are, Including Mr. Graf) seem to be among the only ones that really care about what is going on, or trying to stop it.

I saw one downtown a few days ago (who I didn't know was with Indymedia till I asked) who was walking around with a video camera, so I got his attention and stopped him to talk. He didn't tell me his name but he just let me know that there were people like him downtown watching the police after I asked him if that's what he was downtown for. I thought that was good. He told me about how the Portland Police were giving street kids a lot of grief by giving tickets for what I remember "attempted PCS2" which means attempted possession of a controled substance. How do you attempt to have possession of a controled substance?! Not to mention give someone a ticket for that?! That's like saying I'm attempting to breathe air and give a ticket for it.

I thought that was rather disturbing, but that's what he told me the police were giving people out on the street tickets for as one example. He also told me that there is video to back up those claims, with interviews, which is nice to hear. I'm glad someone is keeping some sort of documentation of the actions police are taking against innocent people.

Before he left I asked him if there were more people out on the street like him. He started to walk away, something had cought his eye, but as he did he said, "dozens... and let it be known that more are on the way." I smiled and thought to myself how glad I am to have things like Indymedia around in Portland.

It gave me hope.

ok, bob, up against the wall, m----f----! 08.Aug.2005 00:07

.

Bob, ever hear of "probable cause," bob?

is that a warrant in your pocket 08.Aug.2005 01:30

or are you just happy to see me

This is one of many reasons drug prohibition should be abolished. NOT because drugs are good for you, NOT because drugs don't contribute to real social problems, but because DRUG PROHIBITION encourages cops and other authority figures to think they've got some legitimate reason to stick their hands down your pants. It's like a mathematical proof: If the cop's hand is in your pants, it doesn't matter what the rationale for the law was, it's a bad law.

crud excuse for a drug search 08.Aug.2005 08:51

karl roenfanz ( rosey ) k_rosey48@hotmail.com

i noticed that the art didn't mention that the man or their vehicle were searched, maybe a lot of overstepping of bounds, congress and the prez ( several cycles of each ) have made a joke of the constitution. bush jr. announced on tv that no nonreligion was allowed. patriot act threw out the right to sue corporations, warrent searches, freedom of speach etc. there are no legal rights allowed to the regular people anymore. can you say emminant domain? deport me to the united states of america. HEIL BUSH

1306 john evansville, ind. 47714

Thank you Alan! 08.Aug.2005 11:37

Working Class Mama

Thanks for paying attention to this. This has been a problem for a long time. Perverted male cops, much like a slick tailor, will slip their hands into places and in ways that are not part of the procedure. I've had the misfortune to go through that when I was just 14 yrs old. There was little to no pretension because no civilians were watching. I screamed out my rights to whoever could hear me and partially to the female cop standing nearby. He just laughed and said,"what do you know about rights, little girl?" as he kept grabbing my buttocks far beyond what would be needed to figure out there was nothing in the pockets of my tight fitting jeans. I kept screaming my rights and began resisting arrest so he then threw me in the car, threatening to charge me for it. No charges were ever filed to my knowledge.
It's a humiliating and vulnerable experience. Any other person did this to you, you would kick their ass. But it's a cop. Even if you move, you're then resisting arrest. You can't help but feel like they could drive you out to the edge of town, beat the shit out of you, rape you, and make you disappear forever. Which isn't so unreasonable as you might think.
These pigs have been using drug laws and prostitution laws for a long time to get away with behavior far worse than sexually innapropriate searches. It's about time we started fighting back!

Alan, you rock!

Gloves 08.Aug.2005 12:46

Den Mark, Vancouver

The whole "gloves" bit is an incredible insult. Like maybe victims of searches should be covered with a protective layer before being touched by cops' hands. After all, who knows where those hands & gloves have been. Obviously, cop training has more to do with mind games than anything else.

Good Eye for Injustice 08.Aug.2005 13:54

Ben Waiting

Thank You Alan
Once again your fortitude is applauded.
I Thank you for being in this town to help with the injustices.
Your encouragement for the wrongs to be righted is inspiring.
Without excersing your rights you end up without them,
Thanks for helping all of us.

drug free zone is bullshit 08.Aug.2005 17:03

smell the glove

After reading this observation the smell of the glove still stinks.

The drug free zone concept should be attacked for it is unequal protection of the law. It decriminates against the freedom of individuals based on their previous payment of their debt to society. Its seems duplicite in fact.

Now this drug war is so farcical that volumes of hypocrisy have been lamented for decades. Drugs from the cia to the usa and the poor un-represented or unlucky pay.

May the good force be with you all.
The Yes Men
The Yes Men

0 08.Aug.2005 18:56

0

Hey , I know in Califorina that a woman police officer has to be preset doring a seach of a female suspect . Does this also include Potland ? .

What ever the case it is wrong .

When is something going to be done to reign in the police? 08.Aug.2005 20:46

Mother

The Portland police are so far out of line my head spins. What do we have to do to get something done? These people are our employees. They are acting like a ruling gang of thugs and bullys.

Mayor Potter, you were once with this group. Now you are their boss and answerable to us who voted for you and pay your salary. Where is your compassion for the citizens of the city? How do you explain your lack of action now that you are in charge? Or should we believe you are the leader of the pack of animals patroling our streets?

I used to have some fear of rough looking people who presented themselves as hooligans. That fear has been far surpassed by my fear of the Portland police. I no longer see them as public servants who care for and protect the citizens who pay them. I now see them as the main threats on the street, forces for evil, not for good.

No longer do they protect me or my property. For crimes against my body or person I am left with a phone call and form to fill out. I know this from personal experience. I was the victim of an attempted armed robbery and the police did absolutely nothing with a wealth of evidence and witnesses. A burglarized friend lost almost everything. He solved the crime himself and delivered the evidence to the police. Again, nothing whatsoever was done.

No longer do they help maintain safe streets. Red lights are run with impunity, speeds on city streets approach that on the freeway, cyclists and pedestrians are being killed and injured and it seems the police have better things to attend to, like molesting and harrassing poor people on the street. I saw this myself today, downtown, where a scruffy couple were sitting on the sidewalk eating a bag of fast food with their little dog. They were doing nothing whatsoever to draw attention to themselves other than look dirt poor. They were committing no crime against anyone. A bike cop saw it his role to interfere. He hassled them to gather up their food, belongings, and dog and move somewhere else. Why? They were causing NO harm to anyone whatsoever.

So what are these police good for? All I can tell for sure is they know how to shoot to kill in situations that an average middle school teacher has to defuse daily with personal skill, tact, and diplomacy.

I have said this before, fire the whole damn bunch of them and hire a bunch of hippies and we will have a safer and more livable city by far.

Our dear bob 08.Aug.2005 23:02

liberal agitator

Bob, it's so endearing when people in discussion threads try to start arguments. We really value your input. Thank you for reminding us that some of our fellow citizens really do think that everyone would be more free if half the population was in jail, and that "security" is always more important that freedom and privacy.

put your hands over your head 09.Aug.2005 00:54

while i figure out what i can bust you for

I remember a long time ago I got busted in another town for "trespassing" ... for sleeping in an abandoned building ... anyway it had been empty for years; "abandoned" is kinda in the eye of the beholder ... i wasn't homeless, i lived down the street but my roommates were having an all night party and i had to get away from that shit ... in come the cops in the morning, ever wake up with a gun in your face? "hands over your head, you son of a bitch!" he said ... then he seemed puzzled that i didn't act like i LIKED him ... anyway they didn't really care i was sleeping in an empty building, they were just fishing for a drug bust ... they were disappointed i didn't have any felonious possessions, and all they could write me up for was my actual behavior ... they gave me a misdemeanor ticket and let me go and the D.A. had it dismissed 'cause nobody gave a shit

Lib, 09.Aug.2005 01:32

I'm a cop

I wasn't there (I work in North Portland, not downtown), and I obviously can't tell you what happened. My interpretation of what happened is colored by someone who admittedly distrusts the police; a person biased in favor of the police may have reported a much different set of events. Based on the information provided, I think what was seen is a consent search. We call it a consent search because it is exactly that...you can consent to be searched, or you can consent not to be searched. It's just as easy to say yes as it is to say no.

Certainly, some of you folks out there will cry, "Well, I said no, but that fascist officer searched me anyway." In that case, what you experienced was not a consent search (obviously--you did not consent to it!). What you experienced was likely a search incident to arrest, a pat down for weapons, or an inventory where the officer asked for consent prior to doing the search he was legally entitled to do. Oftentimes we ask for consent because, on the off chance that we find something during out search, it makes it much cleaner in court if we can testify that we had consent from the defendant to search him/her.

I hope that clarifies some of the issues here.

Your friendly neighborhood community policing officer

last two cents 09.Aug.2005 03:14

bob

agitator--And I'm glad that I can come to indymedia and start arguments and be called charming for it--I am charming, but for other reasons--but I'd rather have the argument than be called charming, and I'd rather have a discussion than an argument. We can sit up all night and debate liberties and privacy and authority 'til you're blue in the face and I'm drunk, but at the end of the day I hope we can all agree that police officers are mostly normal men and women whose job is no less than balancing the authority of the state with individual liberties, and I challenge anyone to come up with a way to do that which makes everyone happy, and then actually put it into practice. I keep getting frustrated enough to come here and post in these threads because I read the comments of so many people who show the same kind of intolerance toward police officers, that they accuse the police of having toward the homeless or elderly or what have you. Hopefully you'll find that the norm is more like our friendly neighborhood officer there.

No 09.Aug.2005 07:38

Den Mark

No, you did not clarify anything. You are so wrapped up in your little procedures & in the pat phrases you are taught that you cannot even begin to comprehend what this thread is about. All you proved in the above is that you are in fact not very bright. Go home.

Plus 09.Aug.2005 07:44

Den Mark

Plus, obviously the o.p. has enuf integrity & courage to sign his name to his post. You do not. So your robotic rambling means nothing at all. Go home.

0 09.Aug.2005 09:27

You never even see me - Do you ? Always watch for now .

It always seem's that everybody has some thing to say and that's good . To loose some body to death when it could have been avoided is not ok especially when it's an unarmed person being kiled by a "COP" who could have chosen not to . I so wonder why Americans , or I should say when Americans are going to start to relies that it's own government kill's it's own people like with 9-11 and yes cop's . When the masses will wake up to the truth - yes the truth that is - what's really going on .

I saw her that apparently a cop wrote about the pat down then the cop at the end of his letter said ( Your friendly neighborhood community policing officer ) There is no such thing your are a killer simple as that even if you never pulled the trigger you still support it by simply being a cop .
There is no reason for any of it and to make excuses and lie about what it is you do ? is not enough . The cop's here in this contry started a war with the poeople now there's lines sides - Remember what line you are on .


Cop watch

Citizen-arrest the Cop! 09.Aug.2005 09:35

Sephiroth

Pardon me, but we do have something called "citizen arrest" in this country, so why not use it against badged crime? For some kind of hard-core abuse like we have here, if (and only if) enough people are around to see it, they could band together and conduct a citizens' arrest for sexual harassment! I don't think law enforcement is exempt. But I could be wrong...

my duty as a citizen, and yours 09.Aug.2005 11:07

my patience has limits

My duty as a citizen is to demand that cops do their jobs: that they enforce the laws equally, uphold the principles of the constitution, and are competent in the responsibilities they are charged with. If a cop cannot do these things they should be fired. So don't talk to your fellow citizens who respect and appreciate this country and its constitution with talk of "intolerance toward police officers". Bad cops should be fired. I'm sickened to live in a country that does not push to have incompetent employees removed from its government. If the police want respect they need to earn it and the quickest way to do that is to weed out their bullies and treat their employers, the taxpaying citizens of this city with respect. Until they do that, they will continue to receive denigration, distrust, and dislike from the population at large, and with good reason. And if you think the posts about cops on indymedia is bad you should hear what people say about the police in the business establishments of this city; it makes what is posted here look like glowing adoration.

A reminder, once again:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

That's right: get a warrant from a judge to search someone or violate the constitution; your choice. The citizens are watching.

A reply for Bob 09.Aug.2005 12:31

liberal agitator

Bob,
I do agree that police are regular men and women. I have an uncle who is a police officer. when I was younger I debated the possibility of being a policeman myself. And the reason I ultimately decided against it was that I object to too many of the government's policies. I couldn't put myself in a position where I would be forced to arrest people for doing things that I don't believe are wrong. The drug-free zone for example. I can't support the concept of police being allowed to search people with the insufficiency of probable cause that the "Drug Free Zone" sets up. The lawyer who wrote this initial post did not make it sound like the couple in question even had a pipe; as far as I can tell, they were being searched simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. My personal opinion is that the Drug Free Zone policy downtown is in violation of the Fourth Amendment. My other personal opinion is that drugs should not be illegal in the first place. I'm sure you and I and almost everybody else can agree that gang violence is wrong; and that breaking into other people's cars or shops or houses is wrong; but I hope you can recognize that economics play just as much of a role in those behaviors as the drugs which desperate and impoverished people turn to. Time and again, real-world experience has shown that therapy in combination with job training and placement are more effective in combatting drug problems than incarceration. You must have seen this yourself. How many times have you had to arrest the same stupid ass hole for doing the same stupid thing? If Multnomah County's social services weren't bankrupt, maybe we could actually help him, instead of making you waste your time throwing him back in the slammer again every couple of weeks.
So anyway Bob, I know I was pretty sarcastic in my first post, but I do genuinely love being in a place where you and I and all these other people can comfortably have this debate and I don't have to be afraid that you'll arrest me for disagreeing with you. Liberals love America, and that's why we bitch and moan about the government so much. I'm glad that you are just as free to post to this thread as I am, and I welcome you to continue coming back to this site, even if other people are rude to you sometimes, because even if I disagree with you on certain issues, you are an equal member of our community.
peace,
your friendly neighborhood liberal agitator

Lib, 10.Aug.2005 00:52

I'm a cop

I think you are (mostly) right on the money. I agree that treatment is much more effective than punishment. I don't like arresting the same people over and over (sometimes two and three times in a single day)--my time could be much better spent stopping bicyclists for riding on the sidewalk (sarcasm).

I think that someone convicted of a nonviolent drug crime should be offered treatment, if they want it. I think a good idea would be that upon accepting a plea of guilty, the judge would issue a suspended sentence that would be waived upon completion of a "certified" drug treatment program. I've done this many times in traffic court. My opinion is that it benefits the community and the driver more to go to a high risk driver school than it does to simply pay a fine and move on.

As for drugs being legal, I can see where you are coming from. Some people I know are able to use heroin or cocaine responsibly and lead a normal life. Most people I deal with, however, are not able to do that (although that may be because I don't talk to the people that can live a normal life and use). The major problem I have with that stance is simply that most of the property crimes I deal with (burglarlies and car prowls) are committed by people who are addicted to drugs and are committing crimes to feed their addiction. So what's the solution here? I'd say it lies in more (and more effective) treatment, while keeping drugs illegal. Like I said before, I'm not likely to run into (and hence arrest) the people who can lead normal lives and use illegal drugs.

Your friendly neighborhood cop

P.S. Den Mark--I don't post my name here because I'm paranoid about my safety. There are people I have put in prison for a long time and they, or their friends, would just as soon see me dead. Sorry that I can't enlighten you along those lines.

It was consensual 11.Aug.2005 05:12

Alan Graf

The lawyer here again who posted the original post

The search is question was consensual but coerced. The woman and man were stopped based on profiling (they looked like tweakers-which I have no idea what that is). They were asked for ID. One cop spoke with them while the other two sat in the car and looked up their names. The woman had a previous drug conviction so because she was downtown and in a drug free zone the cops told her IF you don't consent to a search we are taking you in, in violation of the drug free zone laws.

My objections are as follows:

1. The drug free zone laws give too much discretion to the cops to allow them to violate peoples' Fourth Amendment rights;

2. Profiling is dangerous. Who gets to decide who is unsavory and not wanted downtown? These decisions reak of influence from the Portland Business Alliance who want to turn downtown into Beaverton where everyone shops along like they are in a Mary Poppins movie. Not my version of Portland.

3. Feeling up a woman by a man without mutual willing consent of both parties (especially in public) is wrong, wrong, wrong I don't care if you have a badge, the law behind you, and every rational and justification in the world. That's why people call you pigs, and this is a dishonor to the animal. I like the term peace officers and in fact I don't have a bias towards cops, only bad ones. If a female must be searched who isn't dangerous at the time, call in a woman cop. If we don't have enough, lets recruit some more.

4. Drug laws are stupid, expensive, don't work and the war on drugs is a war against the poor. Rich people who snort the lines, rarely get prosecuted. We all know that.

5. Instead of trying to fix things by arresting druggies, arresting homeless, arresting mentally ill, arresting anyone who doesn't fit, we need to look at long term policies on how to make a sustainable society where everyone is respected and taken care of. Arresting, locking mentally ill and drug addicted people will never change anything permanently. In fact, it just perpetuates what is wrong with this society.

My two cents,

Alan Graf

and ps to the cop who is afraid to post his name- don't you think I take risks being so public in saying and doing what I say? Someone needs to step up to the plate and I encourage you to do so, particularly in your opposition to the current drug policies.

ag

5.

Dear Alan, 12.Aug.2005 03:55

Cop

My understanding of what you are saying is that the search you witnessed was perfectly legal. You say it was coerced, and I can see that. However, your measure of coercion is questionable. It sounds like the woman was going to be subject to some kind of "search," whether it be a consent search or an inventory before being transported to jail.

Now, to address your objections.

1. I've heard a lot of complaining on the matter of the broadness and constitutionality of Drug Free Zones. However, I know that they have been challenged in court and found to be constitutional time and time again (sorry I don't have the court cites off of the top of my head), probably due to the careful way in which crime data is incorporated into their creation.

2. Profiling is a loaded, dangerous word. By profiling I assume you mean racial profiling, although there are other kinds. Racial profiling is disgusting and illegal. However, since you said these people looked like tweakers (white folks, right?), it doesn't seem that racial profiling would fit here. Could you please clarify?

3. Sometimes things are going to happen that are not the ideal situation. That's too bad, but that's life. It would be nice if there were more female police officers working in Portland, and not simply because we could make more people feel comfortable being searched. Female officers often bring a slightly different perspective to the job, and I think that is a good thing.

4. I strongly disagree. If we are going to have a better treatment/rehabilitation program, we need a way for people to get access to the system. The plain fact of the matter is that drug users don't seek rehab as often as would be good for society, and making treatment/rehab a part of the sentence would be a good way for some people to get access to the services they need.

5. Please suggest some long term policies. I agree that arresting people over and over is not going to solve any of society's ills.

My two cents,

No Po Po, the friendly neighborhood officer.

suggestion 15.Aug.2005 08:25

John

I don't live in Portland, but I have experience with police misbehavior in DC and what it takes to bring about change. If you're committed to bringing about some change, try this:

1. Start a broad *very* publicized public education program about citizen's rights when confronted with a pat down search (primarily letting folks know to be clear if it is a police request versus order, and that they should get comfortable saying no to voluntary searches). I wouldn't orient it at Tweakers. Oriented it like you're concerend about white upper class business women getting patted down (it's part public educatation about legal rights, but moreso a big media push to put police on the defensive about their agressive and humiliating practices).

2. While it's great to talk about representing single cases where individuals' rights are abused, the leverage you're going to need here is a class action lawsuit. Get some folks to sponsor an ad in a local paper explaining that you are exploring a class action lawsuit and asking people who have had these experiences to please contact you. "Intake" for these cases (no legal advice, just getting the details of what ocurred) is a great job to give law students in the area who have an interest in social justice. If you have an activist group that does cop watch in the area, asking them for help in spotting this kind of abuse would also be helpful.
There are two parts to this: legal/financial pressure and political pressure. On the legal/financial pressure get someone with some class action lawsuit experience. It probably will take getting the class certified to get enough in settlement talks to make it worthwhile. By "worthwhile" I mean costing the city enough money that the behavior will stop. It's a sad truth, but it seems that "costing the city too much money" is one of the few effective ways to get police abuses to end. Please be ethical about this... don't mislead drug addicts into thinking that this is some gravey train lawsuit for them (I doubt it would be) and instead of gouging for exhorbitant attorney fees set aside a good portion of that settlement to go toward funding a citizens rights legal collective or something of that ilk.
On the political pressure front, make sure that ad looking for people that might join the class action lawsuit is in a prominent paper and large. Send copies to local officials and state officials. No need to send a copy to the chief of police, it's more fun when they first get the flood of angry and worried inquires from their bosses.

Let me close by saying that on a massive number of levels I don't like the fact that this is the most effective way to get political change when it comes to police misconduct. It's wrong that police are acting in ways to protect the elite's pocket books more than anything else, and this is simply re-aligning that financial interest. Ultimately I'd hope for some deeper transformation to occur. But that takes time, and the poor and disenfranchised shouldn't be left to languish under police mistreatment while that slow change occurs.

Sniff test 18.Jan.2006 06:32

David Ayers

Do Portland cops have to pass the Southern Oregon Klan sniff test?

Always Talk 03.Mar.2007 01:10

A Black Man N/A

What you saw,I have had happen to me. I never cared much for it, but that's life.I know you feel difforent.I borrowed an iron from the girl next door I went to return it the next day, I knocked on her door and an narc cop open the door.I was afraid,though I did nothing wrong,he motion me in and asked what did I want,I told him "I was returning A*** iron", he said I was "lying", even though I had the iron in my hand.He said I came to buy drugs,I said I did not. He then told me to face the wall,put my hands up. All I had on was a tee-shirt,gym shorts and flip-flops. In the living room was A***'boyfriend and some other dude he hung with neither one of them I hung with. They were standing in a corner. The cop then started to frisk me I told them I just live next door and didin't have anything on me,he then lifed my shirt over my head,then pulled down my gym shorts.I was standing there naked.Surly it couldn't get worse,that cop spreaded my booty apart.I'm black ,everyone else was white,the cop and those white dudes. I felt really low,He then told me to go to thr corner with my friends, I asked to get dress and he told me to move before I get arressted. They were all dressed. Once in the corner he made us face the wall. We stood there until they finish. Then they brought out A*** from the back room,she saw me naked and I felt pretty low.She told them why I was there. Soon after they left,no sorry nothing.I went back to my apartment,fully mad.The next day everyone knew that I was assed out. A partner of mines was upset one day, he said that night while walking home a cop stop him and said he was packing,they searched him and made him pull down his pants and drawers,spreaded his booty apart and shined a light up in his hole. Some other dudes have thire own stories that I have heard and not one of us has gone to the police.Just talk,always talk.

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