portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article questions oregon & cascadia

actions & protests | police / legal

What sort of actions are planned to protest the most recent police murder?

Can we get something together to start a community dialogue about this fucked up situation.
I've been reading about Keaton Otis, the young man PPB recently murdered:  http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/05/portland_man_shot_by_police_wa.html and watching the video shot by Christina Lais:  http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/05/portland_man_shot_by_police_wa.html and watching the video shot by Christina Lais:  link to www.oregonlive.com

It seems a lot of people are jumping to the conclusion that this man was a dealer, a gang member, or that he "deserved" it. This man was targeted by the HEAT Hotspot Enforcement Action Team (aka racial profiling squad  http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2010/05/13/heat-at-the-lloyd-center) for making a turn without signaling! The police immediately escalated the situation, coming out guns drawn. Only after they tased the shit out of him (a weapon that has been known to kill) did a supposed gunshot go off. Then they stood around and beanbagged him while he died.

Regardless of however the system "failed" this man, the police clearly escalated a situation to violent and fatal levels. Millions of people make unsignalled turns all the time, and they rarely get honked at for it. This man's life was threatened because of it. Clearly racial profiling had everything to do with it.

We need to point out the fucked up aspects of this murder to the community. Theres the Anti-Police brutality show on the 22nd, and various direct actions have been taken against the police, thats all awesome. But can we mobilize something so we aren't just preaching to the choir? I think we need a forum somewhere where other people can hear a discussion, and not just racist, ignorant, apologist statements from the police, government, and media. But are arguments need to be a little more explanatory than "cops pigs murderers"

Momentum and Reaction 15.May.2010 23:19


To answer you directly, there has been community forums on the issue of police murder in recent history. Specifically One held by the NGO Albina Ministerial Alliance, Another held at Curious Comedy and a pathetic excuse of a panel organized by the Portland Community College Criminal justice department. In all but the last, there was a great deal of discussion involving a mobilized reaction to these murders. Yet despite all the discussion, it seems that the momentum of this outrage petered out. Autonomous anarchists also made their anger known is various ways, including the reclamation of space and unpermitted marches.

Sadly it seems there is a great deal of disunity (which may be warranted given very different approaches at the problem).
Personally it seems high time to take another step forward. Concerned people in Portland can all agree that this continues to be a great injustice and action must be taken in reaction. But therein lies the problem. It is both a divide in tactics and the fact that these convergences are in REACTION to injustice that prevents us from moving forward. So long as this is a reactionary "movement" and not a sustained campaign that continues despite the absence of the latest killing we are doomed to fail.

There are some very important discussions that need to occur in a straight-forward honest manner about these obstacles and how we can overcome them. It becomes more and more obvious that what is needed is a united understanding of respect between both anarchists and NGO's. This does not mean that anarchists are to compromise their believe but quite the contrary. It must be the charge of the NGO's to maintain a respectful relationship with those who would risk their freedom to have their voice heard. In the past AMA has outright denounced anarchist tactics to corporate media outlets, deepening the chasm between the two. If the AMA cannot condone the various tactics of the anarchists at the very least they should not condemn us. This is the mandate of a mutual respect.

If we can find even a single point of unity, then the prospect of appealing to the broader community is much more realistic. Perhaps we must see that multiplicity and diversity in the different approaches and tactics as an assets rather than an obstacle. It is apparent that there is no one approach that will have universal appeal, so in light of this, autonomous multiplicity in confronting this issue is necessary. This way radical youth, petty bourgeoisie liberals and everyone in between and can find their own way to engage towards a common goal.

Finding a common goal will perhaps be the most difficult obstacle we have yet to face, but given the grim outlook of disunity , disorganization and worse yet, the continued murder of humans at the hands of the trigger-happy Popo, it is certainly warranted. It is often nearly impossible for anarchists to set down their fervent individualism for the purpose of unity however this should not deter us from making an honest and dedicated effort.

I think the first step is to have this discussion with anyone anywhere, be it complete strangers or comrades. The next step I think would be to organize an prolonged open discussion between the different groups that is not limited by time, and other material restraints. I imagine this as being something as organic as rotating the location to one house to another, week after week until a consensus can be met. Afterall, if we cannot feel that we can meet in each others homes and maintain a mutual trust then we are doing it wrong to begin with. This has to remain a community-based initiative, because it is a community problem. No organization, non-profit or NGO can substitute this necessary component.