Police provocation

  As dusk approached, a group of nearly 200 gathered in the North Park Blocks in protest of recent Portland Police shootings.

  As dusk approached, a group of nearly 200 gathered in the North Park Blocks in protest of recent Portland Police shootings.

On January 29, Officer Ronald Frashour shot an unarmed Aaron Campbell and on March 22, Officer Jason Walters shot Jack Collins, who brandished a knife.

The protesters began the event with the chant “all cops are bastards.”   

A group of self-proclaimed anarchists lofted a banner demanding justice for police brutality. Other protesters brandished signs regarding the lack of police justice in Portland and black flags were lofted to rally the demonstrators. The protest organizers encouraged that black garb be worn, facemasks be sported and incendiary slogans be hurled toward the assembled police force.

In a newsletter handed out at the beginning of the protest, a lack of community safety was cited as a result of the recent police shootings. The letter states “We refuse to feel unsafe in our own neighborhoods, streets, schools and workplace. We must build our own networks of support and safety within our areas.”

At 5:15 p.m., the protesters began to march toward downtown spewing taunts at police officers. A cry of “no justices, no peace, fuck the police,” was taken by the mass as it moved onto the streets. Police efforts to contain the mob onto the sidewalk fell short as the assembled outnumbered the bi-pedaled police officers, who numbered about 30.

When police officers were able to corral the mob, they used their bicycles to barricade demonstrators into groups on the street and sidewalk. The demonstrators moved erratically down the streets shouting out “fuck the pigs,” and “free Joel,” a protester who had recently been taken into custody. A group hurled rocks at a bank and broke windows, newspaper bins were thrown into the streets and protesters launched dumpsters at police officers. By this point in the protest, mounted police, police on foot and motorcycle riding officers were on scene.

The agitated demonstrators and police officers became increasingly more violent and some protestors fell under the hooves of the mounted officers’ horses, others were hit by bicycles and shoved to the ground. At this point, the police officers at the scene numbered about 150, with paddy wagons, squad cars and other official vehicles near the scene. Although mace and guns were not used, the police officers did have them out and at the ready.

Even when protesters got into the faces of the officers and hurled scathing insults such as “a good pig is a dead pig,” many officers only remarked that the streets were closed. Some protesters, aside from shouting slogans, handed out flowers to officers.

As the demonstrators moved around the city they chanted things like, “these are our streets,” causing a back up of cars, buses and MAX trains. Though the protest began in the park blocks, it finally ended at the Justice Center on Third Avenue.