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

actions & protests | police / legal occupy portland

not working with the police

It's important to remember who the cops are when people say things like "cops are part of the 99%".
There's been a surprising willingness at Occupy Portland to collaborate (some would even say collude) with the police. There has been talk about how cooperative, friendly, and supportive the PPD has been. Let's remember who we're talking about.

These are the same cops that killed Aaron Campbell. They killed Keaton Otis. They killed James Chasse and one of the cops who killed, Chris Humphreys, him shot a 12 year old girl with a beanbag gun. When this cop was put on suspension, the police force came out in a several hundred strong march with the slogan "We are all Christopher Humphreys". That's right. They're all Chris Humphreys.

The police are not here to help us. They walk through protests with friendly faces because they're scoping for information and don't think for a second that once they have the order to crack heads that they will hesitate because people thought that they were on our side. The police are and always have been a racist, classist, and sexist institution.

Disagree 07.Oct.2011 18:02

Brian the Green

Let's not paint all cops with a broad brush.

We need to change the system at a paradigm level and I'd like to think the cops will join with us along with the other 99%.

I believe most revolutions have to deal with security forces who one day switch sides. Let's not alienate the police at this point. They are not all the same.

Keep an eye on them yes. Hold them accountable for crimes yes.

cops are good? 07.Oct.2011 18:47


youd like to believe the cops will be part of the 99%, and id like to believe that fairy dust will come out of my faucet next time i turn it on.

ok, EVEN if we hit the mega lottery and every cop has a change of heart (probably a 1 in 100000000000000000000 chance) then the rich 1% will just easily and instantly hire a new batch of cops. people who care more about money than change, and who absolutely believe that the rich deserve all their money. it wont be that hard to find. but that will never happen, because those people already ARE cops! if they all turned good, then tomorrow we'll have new fascist evil cops. and if they all turn good just from your magical whishing, then the next day, well, you get the idea.

why not just believe the 1% will become the 99%, or 100% now? cuz that is just as likely to happen as the cops joining us.

... 07.Oct.2011 19:29


One way or another the cops have to be dealt with. They are a powerful force with social sanction. There is no choice to not interact with the cops. One way or another you will have to negotiate with them. The people who advocate no talking to the cops also negotiate. Just in different ways. If you jump on a cop car and smash the windows and then run away, that is a negotiation. You acknowledge their power by running. Nobody has the ability to push them to the side and make them irrelevant to the discussion. So in one way or another everybody bends to the cops because currently they have more power.

So rather than the endless conflict and often self righteous attitude of who is better and blame games, how about some real discussion of how best to minimize their impact and maximize objective progress. Pure-ism of any sort gets in the way.

once again 07.Oct.2011 19:43


the last great wave of street protest in portland happened between 1999-2004. so many of us had the shit beaten out of us, or saw horrific things happen (i saw the police intentionally spray a baby with pepper spray), that by 2004, the group of people who wanted to work with the police really whittled down to almost nothing.

people gung-ho to work with the police have not YET had the experience of being targeted and profiled by the police. for them the police have always protected their interests. ignorance is bliss. the learning curve on this one is harsh, however. and people who work with cops are an extreme liability to the rest of us, and put us in danger.

i am sure the police are being nice, nice, nice...and just fabulous SO FAR. If i were a cop with the job of controlling a group of people, i would get right in there and be nice too. i would get my hands in there and on everything. because at this stage, that is the most effective thing to do. i would save the beating the shit out of people, and the unfair prosecutions for later. (maybe we will be looking at executions this time! it sounds really extreme but things are changing and we DO NOT KNOW where they will go..)

the other thing the cops and media know is that the whole fight over whether or not to work in tandem with the cops, is really historically divisive. it will divide the group. half will realize that it is not an option, the other half who wants to hold onto a ridiculous hope that they live in a world that is going to continue to be nice to them. they lack experience, and empathy for the rest of us for whom the world is not quite as kind because we are profiled for various reasons.

i strongly support anyone who does not want to work with the police (no peace keepers or police liasons!!!!). if you are new to the struggle i have to warn you, that the people who want to work with cops are going to feel STRONGLY about this and will not budge easily. just leave them behind if you can, do not work with them. kick them out of your groups, meetings whatever..try not to waste allot of time trying to convince or educate. seriously it is pointless. the "liberals" have a long history of fucking over the "radicals," and this is a good test to spot a liberal. "the liberals will fuck you over , every single time," my roommate has been known to say. in the long run they will not be calling the police on themselves, but on you. just leave them behind, if they can educate themselves, and catch up well that is cool. in the meantime they are a dangerous liability.

NO support for cops, PERIOD! 07.Oct.2011 22:01


"Let's not paint all cops with a broad brush."

Fuck that! ALL these fucking goddamn pigs aren't worth a damn! Afew of these pigs are actually killers, but the vast majority of 'em all too willingly stand back in support - all stick together. Remember that big cop rally acouple of years ago? "WE ARE CHRIS HUMPHREYS" Remember that shit? Fuck 'em! Fuck ALL cops!


critical, analytical opposition to police 08.Oct.2011 12:10


While I understand the passion that the above commenter has with regards to this topic, I also want to point out that anti-police politics are not reducible to a simple "FUCK COPS!"

Police officers can be fully recognized as complex human beings with nuance and individuality, capable of all sorts of actions, and still be understood as part of a reactionary social force that has historically never sided with radical egalitarian social movements.

The direct historical predecessors to current day police in the united states were the slave-catchers of the agrarian south. While the attitudes and beliefs of many individual police officers have changed since that time- there are quite a few 'progressive' cops these days - the overall DUTY of the police, their EFFECTIVE FUNCTION is still pretty much the same. People of color are disproportionately swept up for petty or nonexistent offenses and put into prisons where they work for essentially no pay under deplorable conditions. Slavery is only unconstitutional when the slave has not been duly convicted of a crime- look it up. Police ARE slave-catchers, whether all of them want to be or not.

And when social movements threaten the status quo or the lifestyle of the ruling elites, it is the JOB of the police, if not the personal wish of every officer, to crush these movements, using brutal violence if necessary. And the police do not, as a historical rule, "go to the other side" like many veterans often do. They have not done this even when it made logical sense for them to do so, that is, even when it was in their class interest. There is no reason to expect that they will do so now.

And of course it must also be acknowledged that even though there are a few progressive/liberal cops, the police culture overall is extremely militaristic, misogynistic, conservative and self-serving. The police union for example is actually a surprisingly powerful political force in this and many other cities, capable of swaying policy much more effectively than grass-roots movements or regular citizen initiatives. The historical equivalent of today's police unions is most likely the ultra-conservative veterans groups in pre-Nazi Germany, groups who held a dangerous amount of sway and influenced the political outcome in that country to a high degree.

Many Cops like to use FORCE—> (power & control). 08.Oct.2011 13:16


History Repeats if people forget the lessons of the past.

We are all shaped by our past experiences.

A lot of people's past experiences with the police are not positive ones. A lot of people have been violated unjustly by the police and there has been *no accountability* for their actions/crimes against their victims. In a large number of cases the police are the ones who should be judged and on trial for their violent actions and injustice committed... not the innocent people who doubt the officers "true intentions" because (historically speaking) they have in the past been victimized/brutalized by them. It's hard to trust after YOU PERSONALLY have been the focus and victim of aggression by the INJUSTICE of cops while attending what are suppose to be "peaceful protests".

Many cops become cops because they like the "power trip" and enjoy "controlling others". It is hard to trust after a history of abuse, betrayal, and in some cases murder. Actions speak louder than words. See video below and judge by "their actions" and maybe you can realize why some people will never be able to "trust" cops who claim to be "peacekeepers". Cops who claim to be here to "help the general public" and "keep the peace".

Actions speak louder than words.

PEACEFUL FEMALE PROTESTORS PENNED IN THE STREET AND MACED!- #OccupyWallStreet  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moD2JnGTToA

The Police ("peacekeepers") are always going to protect the rich so-called "elite" (they answer to the money $$$). Not the other way around (to "protect" us). They are always going to protect those who look down on us from "above" drinking their f*cking champagne. And people wonder WHY SO MUCH RAGE?! Maybe it's because people are dying because of the actions of the bankster/gangsters (who got rich from ***stealing from the poor and middle class*** —> US!). They sold us all down the river so they could make "profit at our expense" $$$. The so-called rich "elite" don't care about us. They never have and they never will.
Wall Street Mocks Protesters By Drinking Champagne 2011  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PiXDTK_CBY&NR=1

The Police State protects the status quo and always will. It's up to all of us to Learn Lessons from the Past... from History.

Remember History Lest it Repeat.

Bankster/Gangster State HD  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7s49rb941Q

The Gangster Nature of the State - by Michael Parenti (1993) - (Part 1 of 6)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZJ5g8JppyQ

—Solidarity and JUSTICE For ALL