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human & civil rights | police / legal

An Open Letter to the City Council and the DOJ

The proposed agreement between the City Council and the Department of Justice to provide Portland with a police force which citizens can supposedly trust will no longer violate our civil rights. That agreement proposes hiring more police staff at tax payer expense - as if the fox can now be trusted to guard the hen house while the blood of chickens is still drying on his chin. 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. [...]
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