This Week in the Mercury


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Portland's May Day, the Morning After

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Wed, May 2, 2012 at 9:44 AM

May Day started with such promise: a march by high school students that got city hall to lock its doors, and a powerful neighborhood rally that helped return a woman (for now, at least) to her foreclosed, locked home near Woodlawn Park. Then came an unpermitted march through downtown in the early afternoon that didn't have the numbers that usually allow such demonstrations to seize the streets, and there were batches of heavy-handed arrests, reports of bike cops swinging their rides at protesters, and occasional visits from riot-suited cops.

By the late afternoon, the city's annual permitted march, a production of labor and immigration and Occupy groups and others, brought close to 2,000 people out to the streets. That march ended at Shemanski Fountain and gave rise to another demonstration with a decisive message: four undocumented immigrants wearing caps and gowns sat in the road at SW Main and Sixth and volunteered to be ziptied and driven off to an uncertain legal fate. (The only thing that marred the moment was when someone lit a fire in a nearby parking garage dumpster).

But it wasn't long until the "tone," as officials in town like to say, changed again. A dance party that was leaving Pioneer Square to serenade the county jail in front of Chapman Square got a little bit loose and tried to take the streets—and with even less restraint than earlier in the day, riot cops and bike cops roughly moved them along, even arresting a livestreamer and, according to Twitter, dirtying up (with a bike tire) an Oregonian reporter who was along for the ride. (Our tweet-by-tweet accounting of events is here.)

That whole thing led to a weird standoff outside the jail—with the riot cops forming mighty lines across the steps and sidewalk of the Justice Center and the dwindling group of marchers massing on the sidewalks outside Chapman Square—and it put a stop (perhaps cannily by the cops) to any plans for a fun, musically accompanied traipse through downtown. There were more arrests, almost including one photographer who was roughed up but pulled away before she could get pinched, and a lot of puzzlement and frustration. (There also was a Victoria Taft sighting—she was with her dog, Moby, and taking pictures and doing short interviews with protesters.)

I suspect those arrests—the cops announced just 20 or so last night—will wind up as the headline here. They shouldn't. Unless it's to note that despite no widespread acts of vandalism or violence here, Portland's numbers aren't that far off from what went down in Seattle or Oakland. Want to see what our response to traffic violations looks like? The Oregonian has a photo essay and the Portland Occupier still has yesterday's live blog up. UPDATE 11:25 AM: The police bureau has released the rest of the names of those arrested yesterday—bringing the total up to 36, including one 15-year-old (they're now at the bottom of the post).

The well-armed federal police after clearing the steps of the old courthouse on SW Main, near 6th.
  • Denis C. Theriault
  • The well-armed federal police after clearing the steps of the old courthouse on SW Main, near 6th.
Last night I spoke with one the arrestees at the afternoon march, Kyle, after he was released from the Justice Center. He says he was walking back to the sidewalk, on police orders, when he was tackled from behind for not going fast enough. He fell onto another officer and even though he told them "I can't move. I've got my arm twisted!" he was accused of attempting to assault an officer. When he got on the paddy wagon that took him out to East Portland before coming back downtown he saw another arrestee with a swollen eye and another with a lump on his head.

Once in custody and while being booked, though, he said, "It wasn't too bad. Nobody was being a dick."

A livestreamer who was arrested during the dance party altercation, Tommy, was among a handful of protesters cited and released, but not booked. He said he was grabbed and slammed on the ground despite having a laminated press pass around his neck. When they saw that, says Tommy, "The started being real nice to me. They even changed my" zip-tie handcuffs.

I won't argue too strenuously against the dubiousness of marches that seem aimed at nothing more than confrontation (the unpermitted march was planned by the same 15-year-old who was arrested a while ago at Chapman Square; he was reportedly smashed up by cops who came looking for him yesterday). And yes, people shouted undeniably ugly things at cops who, some would certainly say, also resorted to doing some ugly things.

But, still, these are fundamentally traffic violations and disruptions and blockages always move faster when they're allowed to just flow on their own, versus the inevitable standoff that ensues when riot cops show up.

It was interesting to see what the police bureau has learned and how it's adapted over the past few months. More citations and less bookings, to dodge some legal troubles around how cases are processed. A seemingly freer hand for bike officers to get physical with borderline-sized crowds before their tactical-suited colleagues are called in. Help from the feds, the sheriff's department, and the state police, etc.

So what's this say about the coming months? The best activism that erupted yesterday was on point and smart and well-aimed, and not entirely based on marching for the sake of marching. Organizers and marchers say we should expect to see more of that. Occupiers also were reminded of a lesson about numbers—if you want to do something without a permit, muster a large enough and diverse enough crowd, more than merely 150 mostly young people, so the police will back off instead of turn to control tactics.

And, then, expect to be booked or cited on several different counts (even felony charges) if you don't want to walk on a sidewalk and don't immediately listen to a police officer. Oh, and be ready for talk of that police response to drown whatever message Occupy and others want to spread.

Here's the police statement from last night, no doubt soon to updated.

The Portland Police Bureau has made numerous arrests today in connection with a variety of "May Day" demonstrations. While the permitted march that occurred Tuesday afternoon was largely uneventful with the demonstrators being cooperative, unpermitted marches before and after this event resulted in a number of arrests. This unpermitted event is continuing at this time with demonstrators marching in and blocking streets in Downtown Portland.

During the demonstrations, several participants were very combative with officers and fought with officers during arrests. In a parking garage on Southwest Main Street, between Broadway and 6th, demonstrators started a fire in a dumpster which required a response by Portland Fire & Rescue.

During the demonstrations there were some reports of vandalism and graffiti. In one case, citizens took pictures of a vandalism suspect and gave them to police which assisted in making an arrest.

Officers have taken projectiles throughout the afternoon and evening, including bottles and unlit road flares.

Most of the people arrested were booked into the Multnomah County Jail. Some were issued citations to appear in court. Arrests include a variety of charges including:

Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Interfering with a Police Officer, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, Resisting Arrest, and Criminal Mischief.

Adults arrested today (*booked into the Multnomah County Jail):

19-year-old Robert P. Oliver*
47-year-old Angela Irene Hammit*
30-year-old Blair Jacob Stuwe*
26-year-old Levi James Talbot*
18-year-old Justin Natzel
28-year-old Lauren Marie Foree
32-year-old Danielle Reynolds
40-year-old William Roy Cook
47-year-old Neill Seigel
21-year-old Adrian Liwanag*
22-year-old Adrian Vincent Guerrero*
19-year-old Carlos Gabriel Benavides-Montes*
20-year-old Damien Santori Phillips*
18-year-old Eugene Ryan*
43-year-old Joseph Bennie*
20-year-old Karyn Mariko Smoot*
21-year-old Kyle Wade Dolan*
21-year-old Samuel Gates*
52-year-old Theresa Sayles*
25-year-old Dane William Kingsley*

Additionally, a 15-year-old male was arrested for Interfering with a Police Officer and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree.

Additional arrests are continuing and updates will be provided at a later time.

As promised, those newly released names:

Below are the additional arrests made after this initial release:

21-year-old Lana Liana*
22-year-old Diana Banda
27-year-old Silvio Poot*
28-year-old Ricardo Varela*
29-year-old Catherine Garcia*
19-year-old John Garcia-Guasch
33-year-old Tommy Wayne Murray
36-year-old Kevin Martinock*
26-year-old William Evan Storaasli
50-year-old Dirk Lewis
18-year-old Daniel Austin Dorn
20-year-old Marjorie Hoover
25-year-old Justine Verigin
60-year-old Philip Greene
33-year-old Ivan Henry Scharbrough

(*booked into the Multnomah County Jail)

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