To whom it may concern at the DOJ; to Mayor Sam Adams, and City Council members:
I attended Saturday's anti-austerity demonstration on November 3rd. . I was SO disgusted by the PPD's irresponsible reaction to the peaceful protest - pepper spraying some of us without prior warning or any apparent reason. The only violence was on the part of the police so it became obvious to anyone with eyes that the excessive police presence was a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars! There were far more police lining the sidewalks than were justified by peaceful protesters - there seemed to be almost as many cops as there were protesters. I was appalled by the insane waste of police man hours and of our tax money! I have no idea whose brilliant idea it was to send such an excessive police presence to the event; would that have been our City Council or the PPD itself?
I have reason to think that the police are often taken at their word as to whether their presence is necessary and in what numbers. Doesn't it ever occur to anyone that the police cannot be expected to have an unbiased opinion - it is in their self interest to inflate the possibility of conflict and therefor exaggerate their own importance? OTOH, Portland is not known for its riots. - All the Occupy events and peace demonstrations I have attended were of the kind where protesters stopped at traffic lights or would stop to help an elderly person across the street. The violence I've witnessed on more than one occasion has been police violence - the theft of personal belongings I have witnessed was done by uniformed police officers. If I were to sit on the jury, a number of Portland's police would go to prison for assault.
It seems self evident to me that funding Portland's Police Department with more staff is going to solve NOTHING. To think that more officers would solve the problem is a pretty silly PR (public relations) tactic IMO; the DOJ and the City Council must think we Portland citizens are stupid to accept new staff at taxpayer expense is any "solution". We are not fooled and we are incensed.
I would like to see the police department's budget reduced by 1/2 to 2/3 and the money saved to put into the school budget. I am not naive, I realize that the Downtown Business Alliance owns our city council and that too, disgusts me. The DBA wants Portland to be a quiet refuge for tourists and their money. - I fully intend to organize a boycott of all DBA businesses; I hope someone informs them of the same. If they keep pushing our City Council for the unconstitutional suppression of our civil rights, then it's time those businesses were picketed.
I will not accept any other solution than a community review board which fully reflects Portland's economic, religious, and racial composition in all its diversity. I fully concur with JoAnn Hardesty that the Settlement Agreement should be changed to include the following conditions if Portland citizens are expected to take this agreement seriously:
ü The community must have oversight authority
ü Replace 'advisory' in the title. Add 'compliance or oversight'
ü The public must have the authority to ensure appropriate reforms are happening on the timeline laid out by the DOJ