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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BREAKING: Anti-Police Protest Draws 50, Takes Over Burnside in March to Cop Shop

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 12:07 AM

Between 50-100 Portlanders marched tonight in protest of today's fatal police shooting, temporarily closing down East Burnside and breaking an ATM and Starbucks window before peacefully dispersing.

Smashed ATM on E Burnside
  • Smashed ATM on E Burnside

Police and Commissioner Saltzman have not released any more details about the incident at Hoyt Arboretum in which an officer responded to a disturbance and wound up shooting an adult male. But that did not stop the grassroots protest from marching on the Police Southeast Precinct, demanding accountability, transparency and an end to police shootings.

The crowd, which was not organized by a specific group but rallied through word-of-mouth and text message, met up in Colonel Summers park in SE Portland around 8pm and marched to the Southeast Police Precinct on SE 47th and Burnside. There, dozens of police met the protesters, who then broke off into small groups, meeting up again in Laurelhurst Park before again dispersing into the night. According to multiple witnesses, there were no major clashes between the crowd and police but at least two protesters were pepper sprayed.

Kathryn Cates and a friend were walking by the protest as it gathered in Colonel Summers and decided to join. Cates was frustrated that NPR this afternoon only had a short snippet of information about the shooting. "My immediate reaction was I wanted to hear more, I wanted to know what’s going on," says Cates. "We knew everything about the Aaron Campbell thing within a few minutes. When the community is asking for more accountability, why the lockdown? We need to feel safe. We don’t know what happened to that guy. We don’t know if he was out for a jog, we don’t know if he was black. And now in the meantime the police get to put their story together."

As the crowd moved up Burnside, someone seems to have thrown a rock through three windows of an insurance company next to Chopsticks II on Burnside, also smashing up a Wells Fargo ATM and the window of the Starbucks on the corner of 28th Avenue.

Brian Boshart was working the booth at the Laurelhurst Theater when the protest passed. "I heard some sounds coming up the street, at first I thought it was caroling," says Boshart. "Then a crowd with sticks and full face bandana action blocked the street, turning over the newspaper boxes and shouting. A guy came up to the window and said, 'The cops shot someone! We're rioting!' They passed and then came the cop cars. I counted 19 cop cars!"

The protest smashed this insurance company window on E Burnside
  • The protest smashed this insurance company window on E Burnside

I raced TV news vans on my bike to reach the tail end of the protest at the Southeast Precinct, but arrived just as a group of about a half dozen people masked with bandanas were walking away from the station, heading toward Laurelhurst Park. Maybe 20 people regrouped at the small, dark playground in the center of Laurelhurst Park, but the immediate consensus was to disperse before anyone got arrested. A few activists and I headed to the corner of the park, where we watched five police cars circle the neighborhood while discussing what went down.

"People aren't waiting to hear what happened today because the police don't have any credibility," said one protester.

Tentative plans are to rally again tomorrow at 6pm in Colonel Summers. More updates as they come. Send information and photos to us here.

Officers outside SE Precinct.
  • Ian
  • Officers outside SE Precinct.

Update 7:54 am: The Oregonian is reporting that the victim is a white man in his 40s who police were not able to identify yesterday. The medical examiners office is planned for 10 AM this morning to ID the man and determine cause of death.

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