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

bikes/transportation | police / legal

Cyclists Arrested During Cricical Mass

At least four bicyclists were arrested Friday during Critical Mass. Reports about the cause of the arrests were varried. Inital interviews suggest that they were due to a minor traffic violation.
Friday, April 28th @ 6:30pm
Two bicyclists allegidly were involved in a moving violation at the corner of Stark and SW Broadway. According to Officer Christen, two bikers turned South on to Broadway Ave. from Stark St. without performing a complete stop. They were told to pull over (although some might say yelled at).

Reports at this point are very mixed. According to Christen the two bikers who allegidly ran the light and two other bikers in the area were being arrested for resisting arrest or interfearing with the officers. Most bikers who were on the scene agreeded that, "This shit is fucked."

One biker named Pinga took the opportunity to publicly demonish the cops.

"Shame on you! Each and every one of you! Shame! Shame! Shame!"

When asked by the cops to stop he responded in kind, "I am not going to stop! This is America! We are free to behave and express ourselves, and you should be ashamed of yourselves!"

When the ride continued just a couple blocks later Pinga found himself being pulled over. "They charged me with being in the street. Where am I supped to be?" The ticketing officer said that it is against the law to be standing in the street.

Apparently Pinga had stepped off his bicycle at a red light to talk to some people behind him. The light went green and he proceeded accross the intersection.

"The light was red. You are ticketing me for blocking traffic or something? What?!?"

I told the officer this was selective enforcement, that they were targeting Pinga for using his 1st Amendment rights and that their choice to enforce this law at this moment was highly suspicious.

he officer agreeded that he did not feel the biker was a threat to himself or anyone else, and that yes there were people who were breaking laws presently on the Interstate that very likely could end up in injury or even death. The officers committed themselves to enforcing those laws later Friday night.

Please append photographs and personal entries.

homepage: homepage: http://rosecitycriticalmass.org/

recog number 503-988-3893 29.Apr.2006 00:13

portland legal defense network

It takes a couple of hours to be booked. By now, if you call the recog number you should be able to find out what your folks are being charged with and get a sense for when they will be released. That is assuming that they gave their names to the cops. If they did not, well then of course you should not either. The people that answer this line are clerks and tend to be pretty decent. Treating them well is advisable.

Once folks are booked it can take a couple more hours for them to be released. Sometimes they can be released without keys, money or shoelaces and I would suggest that people be waiting for them. I bet you guys are down there right now. If one or more of them are held past tonight they are being held to be called before a judge on monday. Most likely, they will be getting out soon...tonight.

They will have a court date soon where they will be arraigned. They can apply for a court appointed attorney. The PLDN can also help out with finding attorney's. Just give us a call if you need help. 503-234-4518. We would be glad to help walk you through the system. A number of us have been arrested and that is why we do this.

I would be careful in sorting out what happened tonight in such a public forum. You don't want people posting things that will end up incriminating their friends. Just be careful. Off this site I would organize who saw what, get contact info for them.... and document any injuries.

This sucks. Seems like we might have a hot summer. We have to keep our shit together. We also need to have each others backs.

What was not reported ... 29.Apr.2006 01:56

Jasun Wurster jasun@pnxcorp.com

Here is what I saw. I was the guy with the bright orange flag on my bike.

Let's go about 10 blocks prior to the guy who was roughly around 19 with the dyed red hair on top with shaved sides who initially got arrested. The guy was yelling at a lone cop riding with the mass on a bicycle to "Go Fuck Himself" and telling him he did not know shit. The cop gave him many warnings and kept his temper in check the whole time, which from my view point of about 3 rows back.

One thing that really bothered me was the look of rage and anger the young guy had in his eyes as the ride progressed. He kept shooting that look back to not only the cop but everyone around him; including me. This reminded me of when I worked in bars and the kids full of angst would come in wanting to release on anyone. I have been riding Critical Mass for over a year now in Portland and the cops normally give many verbal warnings. Tickets are rare and usually go to those that have a provocateur motive.

The guy and his friends then ran a 'very' red light, to the point they passed people that were stopped for the light. 2 cops went to give them tickets. This did not appear to be selective enforcement. Though at this point the guy, his friends and the officers tempers were running high.

As we reached the point in which the guy who instigated the whole thing was being arrested a portion of the group started to think as one, this is called group think, and is very unsafe ... most of all undemocratic. A girl that the guy was riding with got involved, then another 19 year old guy, who I personally know can be a hot head and has been ticketed many times prior. Not to mention got many warnings on this ride by officers, was yelling at the cops and got arrested.

There were a few noticeable thing that was absent at this arrest. The ride was not disbanded by the police. After about 5 minuets we saw that the officers were not beating and pepper spraying the the group that got arrested. So we regrouped and continued to ride up Broadway. Bicycle cops joined us and we rode around the Northwest with out incident for the rest of the ride.

As we all know, there are three sides to every story. His, theirs and the truth.

Is it 'selective enforcement' if you are yelling at a cop 10 blocks prior to "Fuck Himself" then run a red light and get a ticket?

In response to the above poster. There have been very few problems with Critical Mass riders and the PPB over the last year. The reason for this is that citizens have been talking with the PPB, the Mayors office, Sam Adams office and PDOT to communicate what Critical Mass is. It is up to you to decide if it is a protest or a bike ride?

This summer is most likely going to be just like last years in which we ride, celebrate and have fun. If people on the ride are looking for a fight with the police during Critical Mass then they will most be disappointed for they will get a few warnings then a ticket. Granted if they are as aggressive as the people I saw today ... they will most likely get arrested. More so, most of the riders will see the truth and not support you. I feel that if you want a nice peaceful Critical Mass how about we treat everyone with respect and civility.

time place manner 29.Apr.2006 03:30


The selective enforcement I refer to related to Pinga. The ticketing officer practically admitted it. The other police who were with him seemed confused as to why Pinga was being arrested as well. I feel the answer is clear. If the police dont like what you have to say and target you then they are actively discouraging your expression.

There is a greater point to be made here. This is our ride. When we say there are no leaders, we do not mean that no one is responsible. Quite the opposite. Everyone is responsible. If you see someone behaving in a way you disagree with you should let them know.

Most cops feel their presence at CM is not necessary. If we agitate then we will attract more attention and thus more cops. By taking stewardship of this protest/celebration will we return to the creative expression that we used to enjoy years ago.

btw, I applaud the PLDN for its work and commitment. thanks for the help yalls!

Peaceful parade ended by unruly few 29.Apr.2006 08:29


Definition: Critical Mass
Celebrates alternative transportation with a progressive community

Comment: Hopefully CM can peaceful and thus you get community support and participation.

Definition: Narcissistic Personality Disorder
A a grandiose sense of self-importance, requires excessive admiration, has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations, takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own goals, shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

Comment: I'm a fan of critical mass and will keep riding in these events.
On 4/28/06 I observed however a handful of unruly and overly dramatic riders who were justly arrested.

Prediction: There will be dwindling participation and community support if drama is the goal of some. How about a goal of 1000 riders rolling happily through the city, being noticed, and obeying the law. A rather simple equation.

shame on you! 29.Apr.2006 10:22


Shame on all of you that believe following the laws is a goal. You are enemies of democracy and community. You can't think for yourselves and endanger all of us. You're the little man that are easily manipulated and screw up all democratic progress brave people have achieved throughout history. Shame on all of you, obedient servers of a fascist police state regime. You don't want to be free, you want to be commanded and you dislike other people's freedom. Jasun, you think you own Critical Mass and you use it for promoting yourself. I'm realy ashamed that people in the so-called bike "community" turn their backs to its members when they are being abused.

I'm tired of your lies! The police appears at the rides because you weak people let them do so, and not because we have "bad guys", or "trouble-makers". It's so stupid that you believe in that, but don't think I'm so ignorant and am going to buy this bullshit. And how hypocritical you all are. Everybody knows that you don't follow all the laws yourself, so why do you defend them so proudly now, when other people are being victims of their enforcement?

The only traffic infraction that happened during the ride was that someone did a right turn on the bike lane without fully stoping at the red light. Well, if by any chance you think you know you can ride a bike, you are fully aware that there is nothing wrong with that. Except, in your brainwashed mind, that is not fully in accordance with some law.

Other than that, the cops were trying to target people who looked different, or maybe expressed FREELY their opinions and ways of riding.

Jasun, you are such a coward, betrayer and brown-nosed cop lover. You are defending the cops attitudes justifying that you know one of the riders is "bad-tempered", or however you want to judge him, but you ignore the fact that he was, according to all the witnesses, completely peacefull and calm when he was being taken by the cops; he was, in fact, the only one who did not got charged with the good old "resisting arrest". So, as I understand and have seen, you act as friend around him, but now you stay on the other side. We know that you realy like to hang out with the cops and you do so every month (under the excuse of making them understand us better and be more respectable, but everytime they're worse), but finally you are admiting that you'd rather support them than your fellow riders. You're a turn-coat and you are going to be respected as such.

Before you all start defending some sort of law-abiding Critical Mass, you should first understand what Critical Mass is, where is coming from the history and the general purposes. It's the place and opportunity for bikers to organize and express themselves freely, because we are here and we are not going to wait for politicians to change things for us. It's when we show everyone that we are real, and not marginal, and can make things differently then they are, that is to say, disrespecting the laws if we see them as marginalizing factors against us. If you want to do something different than that and want to use the name of Critical Mass, you are being a thief, a liar and very, very disgusting.

Viva La Pinga 29.Apr.2006 10:37


I love you pinga!!

Think for yourself 29.Apr.2006 11:49


It's interesting how often people use the "grow UP!" argument when they want to support some sort of conservative point of view. That might be because that's how they grew up and learned, the good old way, how things should be. Growing up means doing what grown-ups are supposed to, rules that you might not botter to question or else you might be seen as childlike.
I, in the other hand, believe MATURITY means having the responsability to assume my own moral rules, and acting accordingly to what I believe is RIGHT, either for me or society. Tell me, why do you think THEIR (I mean the authorities', or the official one) rules should be followed in order to avoid an imaginary chaotic world. I think this world is very chaotic the way it is BECAUSE this rules are wrong, they disrespect people, are authoritarian and uniformizing. Alas, uniformity is a very messe-up kind of chaos. Now, traffic laws and the streets (public space) were planned and designed for automobiles. I do not agree with that and I don't see any inteligent reason to just accept that. Automobiles polute (I suffer from that and my descendents are gonna suffer even more from that), they kill people (I don't want to be a statistic like that, neither want to lose someone I love on a traffic "accident"), they kill animals (I realy appreciate wildlife, and think one the biggest reasons people like you, Nishiki Rider, lost their capacity to judge things with their heart instead of using prejudice, is because of the gap our contemporary urban structures make between humans and the rest of the natural world), they are noisy and big and ugly (I'd rather look at beautiful, healthy people and listen to them and the enviroment), among other realy bad things. In your opinion, being an "adult" would be sit down, let things be the way they are and not question the stablished "order", because that's what a spoiled kid would do. You see, I have a different opinion, and I don't think I can't wait, because waiting is for irresponsible people, who think others should take care of things for them. Many others around are doing the same thing and WE are creating a better future, trying to fix the mess that little people like you (that shout Hurrah! for your "officers") have been doing throughout history.
I bet you think Rosa Parker was realy spoiled too, since she refused to follow the laws and generated some "chaos" because of that. And Sacco and Vanzetti. And you also probably support oversea wars, since those involved with it are full of authority and follow the laws.

BTW, if you want to know a bit about CM, check this out:


I have nothing to be ashamed of 29.Apr.2006 11:54

Jasun Wurster jasun@pnxcorp.com

Hi Pinga,

Another part of community requires that we are civil to one another. Feel free to contact me in any of the following ways that you feel most appropriate:

email-  jasun@pnxcorp.com
phone - 503-453-2235
letter - 630 NE Killingsworth Ct.

I am totally open to talking to you in person. Yea, we will disagree but that is also a vital part of Democracy.


630 NE Killingsworth Ct.

Open letter to jaysun 29.Apr.2006 18:27


Hey, I'm pAx, the kid with the mohawk who was arrested at critical mass.

It feels like when I told the cop to fuck off, you saw that as a hostile act on my part, without stopping to analyse the circustances surrounding it.

My comrade has mentioned to some people that in other towns they use critical mass as a way to make a real statement to cars, saying "we're entitled to a full lane and we're going to use that right" (some of us in this town are tired of being the peeons of cars, getting run off the road and such) There was a pig behind him when he said that, and that pig almost knocked over several people racing ahead to threaten my comrade and tell him that he was after him. I biked ahead to let that cop know that my comrade was not the only one who felt that way. I said my piece angrily, but that's because I feel anger toward that cop. That cop wishes to hurt me and my friends in the name of defending capitalism. He was trying to be sneaky by whispering to him and that's not consistent with a transparent government. It's part of their stupid jock masculenity complex.

So he tucked his tail between his legs and rode on, following us ever-so-closely... as he promised. A few blocks later we came to a red light. We didn't "run" the red light. We, in fact, took a right turn on a red light, making sure to stop first. The cop told us we had ran a red light and were being ticketed. We told him that a right turn on red is legal. That aggravated him, and he said to another cop "I think we've isolated the problem" and he rammed his tire into another comrade's front wheel. Knocking her to the ground. He dragged her to the sidewalk grabbing her by her neck. Her husband rushed over there, clearly distraught. He was sort of in the cop's face, but by no means attacking him. I went over there, yelling at the cop to quit (logistically a good idea? no. a rational response by anyone with a heart that beats and a conscience worth listening to? yes.) As soon as another cop showed up, he jumped on my back. The moment I was touched by the cop I fell to the ground and went limp. I made a point to tell him "i'm going limp. I'm not resisting. I choose not to self-arrest" (true to most people's assumptions, this wasn't my first time in this scenario).

So, now i'm being charged with Disorderly Conduct II (class C misdomener), Failure to obey a traffic signal (violation), Resisting Arrest (Class A misdomener), and interfering with the actions of a police officer (unsure).

So, that's the story. Onto a personal note:

I don't presume to know your experience with Critical Mass, but I've been massing on and off for three years and I've seen contact with police, positive and negative ebb and flow with the years, but for the most part the police have been the enemies of Critical Mass, trying to shut us down or herd us into parts of town where we're invisible. Back in the day, the police stayed away from us while we were gathering, knowing that this was not their event, as they're the guard-dogs of capitalism and cyclists/bike punks were a threat to global military capitalism. Sure, we got our asses kicked every once in a while, but we had some fucking backbone and we had some fucking solidarity. There was an understanding that there were pigs and there were cyclists and their interests were the opposite. We come from many diverse backgrounds, but the fact is, we're all bicyclists, and if we can't support one another when we're under attack, we're not worth shit.

I've only ridden mass in another town once, and it was before portland-mass became the cop-justifying liberals they're known known as nation-wide... but I'm told in other towns they still have mutual respect and solidarity, and know how to show cars that we're not going to be herded into a bike lane, we're not going to be cut off, and we're not going to let the pigs co-opt our movement for their own good-press.

On a side-note, the ones I see justifying the cops behaviors are usually the bike-jocks wearing the spandex with logos, which usually are yellow and black... the same colors as the cops. Coincidence? Probobally. But I would never wear the yellow and black bicycling. "I am a revolutionary and you are going to have to keep on saying that. You going to have to say I am a proletariat. I am the people. I am not the pig." Fred Hampton

Are you a bicyclist, or are you a pig? Do you support making your presence known, as the critical mass motto proclaims, or do you support the suppression of the bicyclist-rights movement. Do you support the system the punishes bicyclists for the unsafe behavior of cars? If so, you're a pig and you have no place at critical mass.

following laws is not anti-democratic 30.Apr.2006 00:34


"Shame on all of you that believe following the laws is a goal. You are enemies of democracy and community."

Pinga, let me be the one to break it to you that laws are often democratic, in that they are enacted because of popular support by the public, and that means they are the result of community. It could be argued that breaking a law is the anti-democratic and anti-community action. Not that I believe all laws are just, or that all laws are the result of democratic process. Most people, however, support traffic laws because they want to be able to navigate streets with as much safety as possible, and if there were not laws to establish what to do for example at stop lights, there would be chaos and a lot more collisions.

I find it disturbing that a few hotheaded and ignorant kids are bringing this kind of negative attention to the CM, this can end up undoing much of the hard work of people like Jasun who have used diplomacy and tact to negotiate for fewer police, and mostly bicycle rather than motorcycle / automobile police. A lot of work has gone into making the Mass less a standoff between cyclists and police and more a community event. Pinga, if you're trying to change the character of CM back to what it was (a few hardcore radical idiots continuously battling with police, who feel some justification for cracking down on the Mass because the actions of a few are taken to be representative of CM as a whole) then YOU are anti-democracy and anti-community. Create your own "we hate motorists, police, and laws" ride rather than bring negative drama to the Critical Mass.

This from the CM website:


"Critical Mass is:

- A leaderless, spontanous bike ride through the streets of Portland (and hundreds of other cities worldwide)
- A time to ride your bike without fear through busy downtown streets
- A great way to meet other bicyclists, pass out fliers, learn about other events
- A meandering celebration of bicycling
- Something different for everyone
- Family-friendly
- A visionary projection of what our future might look like

Critical Mass is not:

- Dangerous, violent, threatening, or exclusive
- A place to buy, sell, or capitalize
- Planned in advance
- A race to the finish

You will want to have a white front light and red rear light / reflector in order to avoid getting a citation. If you ride to antagonize motorists, please choose another time / place, some of us have worked very hard to reduce and mellow the police presence."

interesting excerpt 30.Apr.2006 07:45

from scorcher.org

Again, stop with the stereotypes! 30.Apr.2006 13:28


Guys, you are realy blind! You repeat slogans that were injected into your minds without even ackowledging the situation. Nobody wants to be arrested! Nobody wants to get into a conflict with cops! Nobody purposefully provoqued any conflict situation because, as you want to believe, full with prejudices, that they just want to be "rebels". Did this ever occur to you? Do you realize that a girl was violently assaulted by a militarily trained man because he did not agree with the fact she was expressing her opinions? Isn't it clear that I got a ticket because I the only one who expressed my discontent with their actions so vehemently? What is the deal? The guns are pointed to you, too, if you didn't notice.
"Critical Mass is:

- A leaderless, spontanous bike ride through the streets of Portland (and hundreds of other cities worldwide)
** Leaderless and pontaneous? With all the police presence, neither is possible. That's how they co-opt the ride

- A time to ride your bike without fear through busy downtown streets
** Is much more safe when the mass doesn't brake in segments and cars are allowed to get in between. Without fear? I'm not afraid, but every month the cops threaten the riders, that end up losing their spontainety from fear of getting tickets, or "ruining the IMAGE of CM".

- A meandering celebration of bicycling
** As long as you don't take that to seriously

- Something different for everyone
** It is. And everyone's opinion should, than, be respected. But there is a strong tendency in trying to make CM uniform, law abiding.

- Family-friendly
** Without solidarity?

- A visionary projection of what our future might look like
**This is the scary part. I definetely don't want a future like this, being targeted for using 1st Amendment rights, riding my bike in a world completely dominated by and designed for cars, having my tax money spent on making sure this reality is not questioned without punishment.

Critical Mass is not:

- Dangerous, violent, threatening, or exclusive
** Cops make it dangerous, are violent, they threaten and they want exclusively those who will ride the way they want.

- Planned in advance
** The routes aren't, but I know Jasun and cops meet every month to talk about how the rides should be.

I can personally attest... 30.Apr.2006 14:20

Car go not

At previous Critical Mass rides (not this one, I wasn't on this one) I can personally attest to seeing completely unprofessional and inappropriate police behavior, of which the accounts of this incident remind me. I believe it is routine and not exceptional. Here is an example:

As we rode down NW 23rd a few months ago, a man standing on the street corner, not taking part in the ride (he appeared to be homeless) yelled at the cops "stop it! stop harrassing people!" About a dozen bike cops immediately peeled off and swarmed this man.

How does yelling something angry at the cops from the sidewalk justify or require this kind of response?!

(The man on the sidewalk protested to the cops that, "Oh no! This is all a big misunderstanding! I love the cops! It was the Critical Mass riders I was yelling at!" And then the cops were satisfied and immediately left him alone!)

Just what is this business of "copping" an "attitude"?? And since when did police appoint themselves the guardians of all social propriety (in particular, towards them)? What other group of citizens anywhere in our society consider themselves entitled to enforce and extract from the rest of the population such unquestioning, coerced respect and civility? And to immediately persecute and forcibly muzzle any who fail to do so?? Actually, I can think of other, similar, "extralegal" groups -- and the likeness is very uncanny and unflattering.

get critical... 01.May.2006 00:07


...i can't help but think back to the rides in NYC a few years ago ...they were big enough to TAKE OVER and flow as one, that is, not stopping for red lights. Think of it as one organism that will not be broken up... before the light turned red someone would stand in front of the cars until the tail end of the organism got through the intersection... yes, it's against the law... but it's fairly safe and there is a sence of power there - it got noticed. The police don't like "wild" power, even if it's innocent... so now a days the NYC ride is getting crushed. We can't fight them at their own game...
Here, in a sence, it's worse... the ride is allowed to go on only if it's impotent.
Here is a dictionary deffinition of "critical mass":An amount or level needed for a specific result or new action to occur... what is this "new action"... if enough bikers show up, then what heppens? in my opinion, it's a take over... but be smart about it, when the cops are there explicitly to watch you, to make sure you don't take over... they run the show... think, guirrila warfare, pick your fights... this David Vs Goliath approach is obviously not working.

...let's roll.

where is the love?! 01.May.2006 13:00

some kid

pinga, pAx, cupcake, jungle, and his girlfriend inspire me to fight for what's right and not let myself or anyone else be taken advantage of. pAx and pinga summed everything up pretty well. i admire all five of those people and i applaud them for their commradere. i only wish that big group of people who rode on could have such a sense of community and fellowship.

i've only been to CR once before friday, and i won't ever do it again. no, it's not because all the 'drama'. those people are the reason i showed up. i'll never go back again because i would feel disgusted to be a part of a movement where the community is broken into pieces and people aren't willing to support eachother like friends should. specifically, the man who insisted on shaking hands with the cop who gave pinga his ticket for "inproper positioning on the highway". yeah. highway. or broadway. whatever you'd like to call it. so it's because of him and the ones who left their friends behind to fight without even looking back. so i'd like to personally thank these people who aren't willing to stick up for their friends for inspiring me to NEVER go to critical mass again. thank you.

p.s. i love pinga too.

Do what works 01.May.2006 19:49


I wasn't at this past Mass, so I can't really comment on it. However, speaking as someone who was cited on his first Mass and who went to jury trial for "Interferring with a Peace Officer" at another, I am also someone who sometimes also follows the rules. I think there is room for strategy. I think there is room in the movement for people of all comfort levels of dissent.

Yes, sadly, the Mass doesn't always do well enough to take care of our own. Yes, we have a right to admonish riders who are provacatuers, but how do we collectively decide that line and how do we enforce it? These are some of the problems of a decentralized movement.

Every one of us makes small (or large) concessions to the police state everyday. Right or wrong, that's the way it is. Anybody who thinks they're any different is just posturing. If you opposed the police state with all your being 24/7, you'd be a martyr already. You're imperfect, but that's okay. To be righteous, depite our human imperfection, hopefully we jump on opportunities to make positive change whenever we can.

I guess I just felt a lot of rage in this discussion. Against the police and against riders. I don't think infighting like this furthers the movement. Riding in the Mass once and never returning because you disagree with the actions of individuals is saddening to me.

When I faced the motorcycle police, it was probably one of the better things I've done with my life: Because I'm usually weak and anxious. I was very angry that day because it was a memorial ride.

But, when he confronted me, I did not resist out of rage. I resisted out of peace. I was in control because I had made the decision to arrest myself in the second before the officer first spoke.

The US justice system is unfathomly huge. It's bigger than any jail system that has ever existed in history. It will swallow us without flinching. Our civil disobedience needs to be equally huge and, additionally, laser sharp if we ever hope to make change.

The March 2003 freeway shutdowns were a brilliant, courageous, historical start. There's clearly some reason why that level (or type) of dissent is not sustainable. We need to find strategies that work and we need to find them now.

CM discussion list 01.May.2006 20:16


I haven't seen this mentioned yet... the email list for discussion about Critical Mass in Portland. This is where for example after-parties might be planned, or themes for the ride. Routes are not planned, they are spontaneous, but the afterward stuff is often put together in advance.


Please, this is not for loudly trying to convert everyone to your way of thinking, or labelling / insulting others on the list, but for civilized discussion and sharing news about CM.

Arrest 02.May.2006 15:36


I was one of the people arrested during last Critical Mass and would like to say some words. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I'm visiting Portland for a few days. In the Bay Area the Critical Mass ride is really democratic and spontaneous, the cops are not there controlling the ride. Not because they don't want to, but because the bikers have fought hard in the past (and have been arrested, beaten up) to conquer that respect. So now the cops prefer to leave Critical Mass riders alone and avoid confrontation. Once in a while there's some attempt from law enforcement to interfere in the ride, but the bikers keep the same "activist" attitude and defend the collective spirit of the ride.
So when the Portland CM started last Friday, I was really disappointed. It's not a leaderless, spontaneous, non-hierarchical ride - it is controlled by the cops, the crowd is divided at each stop sign, and there isn't that enthusiastic, defiant, critical attitude by the mass. Instead, there's an apathetic submission. My partner, who also lives in the Bay Area, approached me saying that we should leave, saying that the ride is lame and ridiculous. But I felt that I shouldn't leave without trying - after all, CM is about people taking responsibility and not waiting for others to make it happen. Let me say that I am not the kind of person that confronts the law often, in fact I have never been arrested before. I just expressed my feelings loudly to other bikers that were around me, saying that I felt that we should keep the crowd together, and maintain the flow. Some bikers replied, some agreeing but also expressing concern about the cop's retaliation. Soon became clear that the cops weren't there only to impose the obedience of traffic laws (even the most insignificant ones) but were also there to prevent the spirit of spontaneous collective organization, and started "punishing" those that expressed themselves, shouting, intimidating and threatening us. At some point, Pax (who I haven't met until then) screamed back at the cop, angrily stating that threatening one of us is threatening all. I think that what he said represents the spirit of CM, that we are all one, but some people in the crowd literally shouted that Pax should speak for himself only, showing that they didn't share in the solidarity. For fear, I wouldn't scream at the cops as Pax did, but I totally admired his courage because I think that what he said was right and the anger that he showed to the cop was fair and deserved. Then cupcake tried to stop in front of the cars in a stoplight, to let the other bikers go and protect them from being run over by cars - this is a traditional bike ethic in CM and any other democratic bike rides, but one of the cops advanced on him, threatening to arrest him, clearly showing that it's not a leaderless ride, but actually they are in charge. Then in a red light we turn right (from bike lane to bike lane) and a cop shouted that we should stop. Since we kept going (and I still think that is not illegal to turn right in the red light) he violently attacked my partner Molly, in a really bizarre and coward manner. It is really weird that from every one around he chose to attack her. Seeing his over reaction and in the heat of the moment, I jumped in between the cop and my partner, and Pax was also there shouting to him to let her go. Soon, other cops grab me, and ended up arresting me, Molly, Pax and Cupcake, and also gave tickets to other people that protested. Some worthless rats turned theirs backs while we were being violated and called other bikers to leave the scene. Many others, though, went to the police station in solidarity and waited for hours until our release.
Clearly, in Portland there's no Critical Mass, since the cops are the bosses and people "uncritically" accept every order. I can even understand that some people are somewhat cowards, and would rather avoid the trouble or the risk of a reprimand from the police (I myself learned my lesson and would never again go to a ride with that many cops). But to have solidarity to those that do take the risks for everyone is the minimum to expect from CM riders. That some people actively speak against those bikers and justify the authoritarianism of the cops is just disgusting. I heard that some people in Portland have meetings with law enforcement, speaking in the name of CM. These opportunist bastards are perverting the spirit of CM. Unfortunately, underneath the superficial style of hip biker, most people are just like the great majority of people in this society: conformist, alienated, submissive, or just plain hypocritical motherfuckers.
Whether people will try to save critical mass by doing rides in different dates (preventing cops and two-faced bikers to show up); or if people will just let the project die or be appropriated seem less important. What seems to really matter is that as long as this kind of alliance between conformists in one side and authoritarians in the other goes unchallenged, every fun, free, democratic project is doomed to fail and this society's journey towards fascism will succeed.

Judgment Commeth 02.May.2006 23:28

revphil revphil@freegeek.org

Wow. Thanks for your testimony, Jungle. I would have liked to hear more details about what happened, but I understand if that is not possible.

For my part I have tried to get as many facts together and present them for the community's consideration. I think it is honorable to try and get multiple perspectives regarding any incident.

I care a lot about biking in Portland, and I can see slow progressive changes making Critical Mass safer and more fun. Please try to offer some courtesy to anyone who is trying to establish a better relationship with cops. I applaud anyone willing to give up their free time to try and broker a smaller police presence at Critical Mass.

choose between

A) a terrifying ride where motorcycle cops swarm anyone who makes the ride interesting or
B) a lame bike ride where the laws are followed for 30 min and then the bike cops leave

Neither is what we want, but one is a lot closer. San Fransisco got where it is by being smart and having a lot of people help out. Anyone who wants to do more than bitch should try and organize the people.

Like Capt.Planet said: "The power is yours!" also I think he said 'use the email listserve'. That guy was weird.



As for the people encouraging the ride to move on. I am not sure of their mot ovations, but I wouldn't brandish them anything but impatient without hearing their perspective. If we dont try to understand each other [insert corny phrase].


some kid (4 posts up):
I was the person talking to the cop that ticketed Pinga. I shook his hand. I tried to reason with him about his behavior. He didn't have to explain his actions, he could have told me to step back. I thanked him for his time, and, if Pinga fights his ticket, I will be able to help him with his defense. Cops want to be treated like humans, doing so may help them behave more humane.