NORTHWEST CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS CENTER
For Immediate Release: October 5, 2006
Contact: Alejandro Queral, 503-295-6400
NW Constitutional Rights Center Deeply Concerned by Actions of Portland Police During Peaceful Protests
Preliminary reports indicate excessive use of force and indiscriminate use of pepper spray
The Northwest Constitutional Rights Center is deeply concerned by the Portland Police Bureau's actions in response to a peaceful protest downtown this afternoon. Legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild and other witnesses report indiscriminate use of pepper spray and rubber bullets against a peaceful and complying crowd. There are reports of several injuries resulting from these actions. On-the-ground reports indicate that at least one person suffered a life-threatening asthma attack as a result of the use of pepper spray.
"We are deeply concerned by reports of excessive use of force by police officers against a peaceful crowd that was complying with police orders," said Alejandro Queral, executive director of the NW Constitutional Rights Center. "We encourage possible victims and witnesses to today's events to contact the NW Center as soon as possible."
The NW Constitutional Rights Center was founded in 2003 after a series of lawsuits against the Portland Police for using excessive force against peaceful protestors. Experts working for the NW Center at the time repeatedly warned the police that the use of pepper spray could result in respiratory complications, including life-threatening asthma attacks.
"We will make a determination on whether to pursue legal action after conducting a thorough investigation into this afternoon's events," said Queral.
The Northwest Constitutional Rights Center safeguards the rights of political activists, communities of color and immigrants through public interest litigation, advocacy and education. The Center holds the government accountable for its unconstitutional actions and works to create a just and equitable society.
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NW Constitutional Rights Center