Portland's Biggest Band of the '90s Sparkled Before the Fade
1. That police reacted too muscularly, and wound up inflaming a peaceful event, by showing up as promised all along, but in an overwhelming display of riot gear and mounted officers. The question is especially on the minds of some because the Jamison protesters didn't come with tents, or even sleeping bags. It looked way more like a one-off demonstration than a genuine camp expansion.
3. That maybe it's not such a good thing that Portland has been selectively enforcing its parks, and other, laws—something Mayor Sam Adams calls "discretion." The argument among those who make that point is to strip the city of things like curfews or apply them not only to homeless people and/or protesters—rule of law by whim of whoever is in charge. Of course, if that line of thinking takes off, it's also a justification for ripping out the main Occupy camps and Chapman and Lownsdale squares.
I probably could add a fourth point, too: That maybe this wasn't the best fight for the Occupy movement to pick with a supportive city—no matter what might be some rightful discomfort with the forceful police response to Jamison Square. Mayor Sam Adams, for the record, says he still supports the movement and is fending off well-heeled and influential critics who hate that he hasn't sent the police bureau swooping in. But this morning's scene doesn't make that easier (and, no doubt, some will also say that might be one reason why things went the way they did).
The action of making a stand on a legitimate issue—the privileges given to, and withheld from, public space—does seem to have unified a sizable segment of Occupy, and not just the young anarchist stereotypes propagated by Tea Baggers. But I still agree with those who felt all along like the Pearl wasn't the best place for that stand or any other aimed at the honest-to-God 1 percent.
After the cut, Occupy has its response, and the police bureau has its latest.
Update Oct. 31: Occupy Portland says the original statement needed corrections. A link to the newer version is here. An editor's note also was appended: "**Editor’s note: Occupy Portland would like to point out, as has been noted by several people, that the death of Aaron Campbell was in no way associated with the Jamison Square occupation or resulting actions. It was a separate and unrelated event. The present wording of the press release does not make this clear.
Before 3:30am Sunday morning, 25 peaceful protesters from Occupy Portland were arrested by the Portland police at Jamison Square. After about 600 Portlanders marched against anti-camping laws, police brutality, and growing wealth inequality, the protesters decided to stage a sit-in at Jamison Square. About 450 supporters surrounded the park and cheered the protesters seated peacefully in a circle in the center.
Six mounted police and approximately 65 police in riot gear pushed supporters to the sidewalks and conducted the arrests over a period of several hours. Mayor Sam Adams arrived on scene during the arrests and expressed that he was only there to observe, but did not order the arrests to cease. At one point, a woman was pinned between two mounted police horses while standing on the sidewalk in support of protesters and another supporter's bicycle was crushed in the incident.
Members of the sit-in released the following statement:
We, the arrestees at Jamison Square, stand in solidarity with people in Oakland, Atlanta, Chicago, and other cities where aggressive police raids and 2,826 arrests have attempted to forcibly disperse peaceful assembly and political protest. The occupation movement condemns police brutality as well as the unjust and growing inequality of wealth, resources, and political influence in the nation and world.
We condemn police brutality both locally and globally. On Tuesday morning, over 500 police in riot gear attacked the Occupy Oakland encampment, arresting over 70 people and destroying protesters' property. By that evening, upwards of 1,000 people marched through Oakland to continue the protest when police began shooting rubber bullets and throwing concussion grenades and tear gas directly into the crowd, injuring several nonviolent protesters. Scott Olsen, an Iraq war Marine veteran, was hospitalized for critical injuries. Here in Portland Aaron Campbell, a young African-American man, was murdered by Portland police officer Ronald Frashour.
The Occupy Oakland movement has called for a general strike and mass day of action on Wednesday, November 2. The arrests here in Portland Sunday morning are only the beginning of what will be a battle for the rights of citizens to peacefully assemble and protest the growing inequality of wealth and resources.
And here's the police bureau's statement, including the names of all those who were arrested (with link to photos here):
Portland Police officers arrested 27 people early this morning in Jamison Square Park in Northwest Portland. 25 people were charged with Interfering with a Police Officer, Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree
20-year-old Benjamin Anderson Harris and 28-year-old Benjamin Burson were charged with Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree and Interfering with a Police Officer. They were arrested prior to the arrest of the 25 people seated in Jamison Square.
The 25 people peacefully arrested sitting in Jamison Square Park were charged with Interfering with a Police Officer, Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree.
Numerous noise complaints from area residents were called into the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) throughout the evening.
The arrests were made after the 25 refused to leave the park after several instructions to leave the park were given by police and Park Rangers. Jamison Square Park closes at 12:00 a.m.
Those arrested include the following:
46-year-old Angela Irene Hammit
51-year-old Alberta Ellen Lozon
22-year-old Jessica Freeman
22-year-old David Jensen Thomas
31-year-old Joseph Montique Gordon
21-year-old Axcelle Deone Bell
22-year-old Grant Curtis Booth
51-year-old Daniel Keller
25-year-old Sarah Coble
18-year-old Hannah Grundner
23-year-old Nadia Greene
24-year-old Caitlin Triall Wilson
57-year-old Cathy Diane Alexander
36-year-old James Michael Lopes
27-year-old Mitchell David Scott
28-year-old Mathew Walsh
28-year-old Bradley Clair Beach
24-year-old Matthew Denny
20-year-old Cameron Whitten
Additionally, a 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds were arrested.
Three adult females chose not to give their names and were booked as "Jane Doe" into the Multnomah County Jail. Additionally 24-year-old Matthew Denny and 60-year-old Cathy Diane Alexander were booked into jail.
The juveniles and remaining 17 adults were given citations and released from custody.