- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Buddy Grizzard
Monday, Aug. 26, 2002 at 8:16 AM
Rubber bullets and pepper spray were used against members of the media, elderly persons and families with small children. Photographer Troy Pickard (pictured) was among the first shot.
troy.jpg, image/jpeg, 280x197
After a long period of militarization of domestic police forces, and with draconian laws in place such as the USA Patriot Act, it seemed only a matter of time before overt and violent repression of civil dissent would begin. It began Thursday in Portland, Oregon.
A peaceful march estimated at upwards of 3000, including families with children in strollers and elderly in wheelchairs, gathered in downtown Portland. The march was organized to protest visiting President George W. Bush's new forest initiative, the impending war on Iraq and the administration's repeal of civil liberties. Police herded the marchers into a confined area near Bush's hotel, then attacked from at least two directions with batons, pepper spray and rubber bullets.
Members of the media were deliberately targeted. According to the website of Portland Fox affiliate KPDX, police working in coordination with the Secret Service pepper sprayed reporters, producers and photographers covering the march. According to an article on the KPDX website:
"Several of our own KPTV/KPDX employees were sprayed. One of them was photographer Beth English. Her tape shows that a police officer takes a dead-on aim at her face. Beth was treated and released."
Full report: http://www.kpdx.com/Global/story.asp?S=907583&nav=2cFk3gTHAqwk
Troy Pickard, opinions editor of the Panther Newspaper at Chapman University in Orange, California, said he was shot with a rubber bullet at close range. A picture of Pickard taken just before the shot was fired showed no provocation on the part of Pickard or the protestors at a barricade set across their path by police.
"I had come up for a few days and I stumbled into the protest, not even knowing one was planned," said Pickard, 20. "In the course of my photography, I was shot in the right shoulder by a police officer from a distance of 15 feet."
Protestor Hope Marston from Eugene, Oregon said it appeared as though police in riot gear were stealing for a fight before the attack.
"I actually watched a line of them, beating their black jacks against their boots in a Hitleresque rhythm," said Marston. "They were not police; they were paramilitary troopers."
Protestor Jason Maxfield was also at the front of the crowd and had a clear view of the orchestration of the attack by police.
"The police mobilization/attack seemed to be planned and orchestrated rather slowly," said Maxfield. "I watched an officer who appeared to be in command walking up and talking to each officer on the front line. Then one of them started lifting both arms and lowering them rapidly -- presumably some sort of signal -- and suddenly the whole line of them burst forward into the crowd. It certainly didn't seem like they were responding to any threat."
Activist Kyrstin Westwind, a self-employed organic baker who has worked with environmental and consumer protection groups around Portland and worked on Ralph Nader's presidential campaign, further described the attack by police.
"What began as a wounderfully peacful and respectful march turned suddenly into a police riot," said Westwind. "People were being hit with tear gas and rubber bullets at point blank range, riot police were striking people with no obvious provocation [and] squad cars were plowing through the crowd before folks had any opportunity to move."
Westwind, who has medical training, brought water and eyewash in case teargas was used. She said she witnessed and elderly man from her own neighborhood suffer an athsma attack because of teargas fired by police.
"This situation represented a clear medical emergency," said Westwind. "Trained volunteer medics repeatedly approached uniformed police officers (regular uniforms, not the ones in riot gear) seeking an ambulance/paramedics for this gentleman and the police repeatedly refused to make the call or allow access to phones."
Donald Joughin, who attended the protest with his wife and three small children, described how police attacked from the rear of the crowd.
"The march stopped at the intersection of 2nd and Alder,” said Joughin. “We could not see why from our position on the southwest corner of the intersection. Police quickly moved up behind us and a moment or two later sprayed pepper spray into the crowd from the northeast corner of the intersection. The crowd ran toward us to escape the spray."
Joughin asked a police officer how he could get out of the crowd with his small children, and the officer pointed in the direction of the northeast corner, where police were pepper spraying protestors. Seeing the situation getting out of hand Joughin yelled for the officer to let him through the barricade.
"He looked at me, and drew out his can from his hip and sprayed directly at me," said Joughin. "I was at an angle to him and the spray hit my right eye and our three-year-old who I was holding in my right arm. In the same motion he turned the can on my wife who was holding our 10-month-old baby and doused both of their heads entirely from a distance of less than three feet."
Despite the danger posed by pepper spray to small children, it took several minutes of pleading by protestors who were helping the family before an officer in charge finally let the family through to seek medical treatment.
"I yelled at them to let us pass for about two minutes and finally some officer up the line nodded me and the baby through," said Joughin. "They were not going to let my wife and other children out. But after a few minutes of pleading from the crowd and another signal from up the line, they let them out. As we passed, the officers were laughing and said something to the effect of 'that's why you shouldn't bring kids to protests.'"
KPDX also quoted Portland police saying that children should not have been brought to a protest, indicating an attitude on the part of police that violence is inevitable in any such demonstration. A police spokesman told KPDX that members of the media should not expect immunity if they cover a protest.
"There are people who have been apparently pepper sprayed and apparently a reporter or reporters," said police spokesman Henry Groeper in a statement to KPDX . "You get into the crowd, we're not here to control you. You're there to film. But if pepper spray is deployed, I'm sorry but you're gonna be a part of that."
[Buddy Grizzard is an independent writer, researcher and musician from Atlanta, Georgia. Buddy has worked as a volunteer on the campaigns of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Georgia Green Party gubernatorial candidate Nannette Garrett, and publishes Authentic Press, available in .pdf format at www.authenticpress.net.]
Report this post as:
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 18 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
||Saturday, Sep. 07, 2002 at 7:47 PM
|violent repression of dissent*portland
||Saturday, Dec. 07, 2002 at 7:51 PM
||Saturday, Dec. 07, 2002 at 9:11 PM
||confusion, disorientation, etc
||Saturday, Dec. 07, 2002 at 11:14 PM
|Whimper & Whine
||Sunday, Dec. 08, 2002 at 4:56 PM
|thanks 'Terry Helton'....
||Sunday, Dec. 08, 2002 at 11:05 PM
||Sunday, Dec. 08, 2002 at 11:53 PM
||Monday, Dec. 09, 2002 at 12:06 AM
|Person of few words
||Monday, Dec. 09, 2002 at 1:25 AM
|Hi Bush Admirer
||Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2003 at 4:28 PM
|Harbinger of things to come.
||Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2003 at 4:48 PM
||Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2003 at 7:35 PM
|Real Americans Shut UP
||Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2003 at 7:52 PM
Change Links September 2018 posted
More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre
Site Outage Friday
Change Links August 2018
Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land
More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke
Change Links 2018 July posted
More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena
"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena
Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles
Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California
Change Links June 2018 posted
The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years
Unity Archive Project
Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi
CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police
Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies
California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings)
Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico
Change Links May 2018
Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
More Local News...
Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation!
Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme
Paraphysique de psychosomatique
Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal
Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy
Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales
Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc
Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk
Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement
The Dictatorship of Corporations
18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting
Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue
Shopping du bashing
After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again
“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen
Probabilités de fin d'humanité
Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW
Steer clear of work morality!
The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally!
August 2018 Honduras Coup update
Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges
Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts
Paraphysique de contextualité
Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism
Ex-voto de réification
Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh
Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation
More Breaking News...