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

actions & protests | police / legal

An Open Letter To the Portland police

A critical response to your actions regarding the Million Mask March
Numerous citizens stood witness to your unwarranted, unjustified, and violent snatch and grab tactics of yesterday. Not only did you use excessive force and needlessly endangered the lives of numerous citizens, your tactics almost created a riot. Perhaps this was your intention?

For all those who may be unaware of the circumstances, lets do a quick recap shall we? Yesterday's Million Mask March was a non-violent event. At one point a few activists engaged in a non-violent sit-in in the middle of a cross walk. The police repeatedly threatened these individuals with violence, as they typically do (because this is the only tool in their tool box). The activists responded by leaving the crosswalk and the march went about its way. A few blocks up the road, the PPB decided to do a snatch and grab to arrest the individual who was in the cross walk previously. They did this by bringing in mounted horses, vehicles, motorcycles, and more. The police then tackled this young man to the ground and kidnapped him.

To see footage:
 link to www.katu.com

Those that have been observing your MO for years know that your repressive tactics and violence against protesters has been escalating. Your tactics and approaches with the public and advocates of justice are egregious. The time has come to clarify a few matters:

1.) At no time, will the use of a permit reconcile with the right to freely assemble. The use of non-violent civil disobedience will forever be at odds with your desire for control and repression. Any city or state ordinances that contradict the right to freely assemble and redress grievances through the use of non-violent civil disobedience, will not be recognized as just or valid laws.

2.) Since these two concepts are NOT reconcilable you would do well to consider the phenomenon of escalation, which you currently are often the main contributor. If your primary goal is to prevent a riot, the phenomenon of escalation says do not start one. 'As above, so it is below.' Your actions become a mirror of public consciousness. This is true for the actions of police and activists. If you do not wish to start a riot, then you will have to consider and take accountability for your own role in the situation. If it is knowledge that you lack, then the time has come to acquire new tools. These tools will not come from your institution No longer can your orders, or 'A' typical responses be an excuse for a lack of humane and engaged public service.

3.) Citizens of Portland will have to come to a decision about how to address your offenses. It is clear that no amount of public input or community review boards have the teeth necessary to hold your bureau accountable for its employees, or actions. Whatever the community decides it can be guaranteed, it will likely involve MORE non-violent civil disobedience, not less.

Stating the Facts 06.Nov.2013 11:15

Citizen

verb ( -napped , -napping ; also -naped, -naping) [ trans. ]
take (someone) away illegally by force
Money is not the defining characteristic of a kidnapping...but considering the unjust fines, fees, and bail money the justice system gets as profit, there is no reason to assume this is not in fact a kidnapping...particularly when witnesses can attest to the illegal nature of the arrest.

been there 06.Nov.2013 11:22

no surrender

as an educator and veteran of writing about and taking part in street protests, i well know what you write of here. from the seattle wto, the twin cities, and on through today, unprovoked police brutality and the snatch and grab go on unchecked. I have seen this and more at permitted marches. i remember how surprised the "new to protest' folks of Occupy Portland were when they got a permit for a march, secured a police liaison, and STILL got the shit kicked out of them. and they WEREN'T EVEN PROTESTING. They had congregated to clear out a camp, pick up trash, etc., when lo and behold, there came quickly swarming a troop of riot cops. one of the protesters climbed up on a bench with her bullhorn to say "This is a non-violent action! We are not breaking any laws!" and those cops started dragging people to the ground and to the street, put there knees on the backs of necks and zip cuffed them. other cops slammed their clubs into stomachs and backs. this is on video somewhere...i remember first seeing s 'n' g at a prez bush fundraiser in the early 90s. this was when one of his staffers coined "little beirut" to describe his visits here. the name has stuck, but make NO mistake: actions that end in riots are not riots caused by protesters. they are indeed without fail, POLICE RIOTS, brought to us by and for police. your constitutional rights and pleas of self defense are chucked out the window. just because they can. really, ask yourselves why the City of Portland has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to protesters who decided to sue. and don't be surprised to learn that these same cops are still on duty.

as a former professor who taught the history of social justice movements, i would suggest that anyone who bristles at hearing cops called death squads get their knickers out of their twist and do a little historical research before showing how ignorant they are of tangible fact.

(also, to whoever posted this, yo: you just gave your game plan away. you have served on a platter info to police about what they should prepare for. word to the wise, no more open letters...)

Some Links 2 - Million Mask March PDX 06.Nov.2013 19:30

Ben Waiting

(1)  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1koV3Rpglmj_zB0LeYg2LzJ7fFFklXZzJjU-PfMWPARM/edit [Portland Police - Million Mask March]

(2)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z98lsTPjTfw&feature=youtu.be [Million Man March Portland, OR - Activist Arrested]

(3)  link to www.demotix.com [Million Mask March protester arrested in Portland]

(4) 200 to 300 marching in PDX @ Million Mask March Police on Loud Speakers 3rd Ave telling to stay out of street -->  http://www.ustream.tv/channel/joefreedom

(5) KATU sky view of police attack:  link to www.katu.com