We're gonna spray and push, got it?
May 21, 2006 7:19 PM   Subscribe

A rather well-edited and well-editorialized video of anti-protester police tactics as seen from perspective of police-operated cameras from the infamous protest in Portland of 2002. (Coral Cache here.)
posted by loquacious (81 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wait, you show up to a protest and don't want the government to record you? Is this a joke?
posted by b1tr0t at 7:34 PM on May 21, 2006


> Is this a joke?

Ah, hipsters definitely weren't what they used to be...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:45 PM on May 21, 2006


Ugh.

Aren't. Aren't what they used to be.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:45 PM on May 21, 2006


Well-editorialized? They Godwin themselves about six seconds into the video. Using the Nazi footage was wholly gratuitous - it added nothing whatsoever to their (otherwise fairly compelling) argument that the Portland PD acted improperly.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:48 PM on May 21, 2006


"Protest activity is designed as a mode of political action, oriented toward objection to one or more policies or conditions, characterized by showmanship or display of an unconventional nature, and undertaken to obtain rewards from political or economics systems while working within the systems."

"Protest leaders must nurture or sustain an organization comprised of people with whom they may or may not share common values. They must articulate goals and choose strategies so as to maximize their public exposure through communications media. They must maximize the impact of third parties in the political conflict. Finally, they must try to maximize chances of success among those capable of granting goals."

-Michael Lipsky, "Protest as a Political Resource"
posted by awesomebrad at 7:50 PM on May 21, 2006


Quite interesting and quite damning for the police : obviously some people think cops are the cause of problem, because they practice the actual violence, so if you get rid of the cop the problem goes away. Wrong, as cops are very easily replaced by military or even more violent folks. They are instrument, replaceable cogs or as some poet puts it, they are just "sons of people" unfortunate schmucks who think their policing is "just a job" while it clearly isn't.

The problem is closer to the top brass in hierarchy who gave the order to assault protesters ; obviously the blame will be put on some expendable police officier that will receive some kind of reward for covering up some ass.

Consider some people may see the video as provocation to act more violently against cop : this is a bad idea, violent people don't get sympathy, they are hated.
posted by elpapacito at 8:07 PM on May 21, 2006


"If this were Nazi Germany in the 1930s, would you want Adolph Hitler to have these pictures... of you?"

Uhhh, no, I guess I wouldn't. Come to think of it, I wouldn't want Adolph Hitler to have my baby pictures, the pictures my sixth grade trip to the Hershey's chocolate factory, or my driver's license picture. Wtf is the point again?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:14 PM on May 21, 2006


i agree with the comments. the point made regarding the media lying about the crowd throwing the bottle is significant... but they lost me when they paired the footage of the police barricades with that of the concentration camp. good job at undercutting your own message...

that, and the narrator's tone of voice started to bug me...
posted by cgs at 8:25 PM on May 21, 2006


It would have been better if they had cut it down to the "we're going to ask them to leave, they're not gonna leave, we're gonna spray push spray push" bits. That's your gov't for you.

I'm having a little trouble connecting the dots between police camcorders and death camps.
posted by Nahum Tate at 8:25 PM on May 21, 2006


Yeah, the narrator's voice irritated me, too. From what I watched of it, the video is an exercise in stupidity.
posted by jayder at 8:33 PM on May 21, 2006


Well-editorialized in the sense of having an awful lot of editorializing.
posted by smackfu at 8:34 PM on May 21, 2006


Some non-affiliated background on the "police riot" of August 22nd this is documenting. It was near the Portland Hilton where the President was speaking at a fundraiser. The authorities (police, Secret Service, somebody) screwed up in not allowing a clear path for those who attended the fundraiser to enter or leave without going through the crowd of protesters. Some of the attendees complained about being threatened. The roads were also blocked including not having a completely clear eggress for the President's motorcade.

The police tried to move the protesters back across the street to have a clear pathway. The protesters didn't move after being repeatedly warned. Police moved them using pepper spray (not chemical mace as the film suggests) which they used liberally, including spraying a AP photographer and ancedotally, a child who was being held by their parent in a group refusing to move.

Did PPB see the kid where they were spraying? Who knows. But if you bring your kid to a protest, hold them up in front where the police have repeatedly warned you that you need to move or you will be sprayed, and you don't move, is that your fault or the cops that you and your kid got sprayed?

As for the videotaping? Standard in PPB reactiobns to protests since they have been continually sued over protests, with and without reason.

PPB is not innocent. They have over reacted in the past and probably will in the future. However, selective editing, hyperbole, and Godwin references are just as distorting as whatever the "lens" the police use.
posted by karmaville at 8:35 PM on May 21, 2006


Oh and anyone think the narrator sounded like a female David Blaine?
posted by karmaville at 8:36 PM on May 21, 2006


"And one of them...is even...me...!"

They make some interesting points but I disagree wholeheartedly with the FPP's assertion that this is "well-editorialized"...on what planet?

This is hippie level 10 or so, a paranoia pretty far removed from most of the folks who were at that rally, I'd say.

Oh, and if you are going to narrate a documentary, lay off the bong.
posted by zardoz at 8:40 PM on May 21, 2006


Oh yeah, how dare the makers of this video compare the rising militancy in this country with Nazi Germany.

I mean, thats just ridiculous.
posted by slickvaguely at 8:41 PM on May 21, 2006


If you think they're fascist, call them fascist, not Nazis. Nazis is a whole nother thing past "rising militancy".
posted by smackfu at 8:42 PM on May 21, 2006


While agree with the overall sentiments 100% that "well editorialized" video was fucking awful. Seriously junior high. No wonder "The Man" doesn't seem afraid.
posted by tkchrist at 8:44 PM on May 21, 2006


I mean, thats just ridiculous.

Yeah, really. Like, you wanted to exercise your First Ammendment rights, and someone wanted you to stop. They asked you several times. WTF do you expect?
posted by c13 at 8:45 PM on May 21, 2006


Would it be similarily ad hominum for me to tell you to lay off the cock before a comment in such a quaint falsetto?

You enjoy ze jackboots zardoz?

Do Ut Des
posted by isopraxis at 8:50 PM on May 21, 2006


Wow. I gave that about six seconds. From descriptions here in thread, it sounds interesting, too, but I kind of tune out once the premise is established that the US is equivalent to Nazi Germany.
posted by mzurer at 8:54 PM on May 21, 2006


If you think they're fascist, call them fascist, not Nazis. Nazis is a whole nother thing past "rising militancy".

good thing we have you around to clear that up...

rhetoric need not be accurate to be effective, but I suppose you think we should hold this video to some other standard?
posted by slickvaguely at 8:56 PM on May 21, 2006


Sarcasm.
posted by c13 at 8:59 PM on May 21, 2006


rhetoric need not be accurate to be effective, but I suppose you think we should hold this video to some other standard?

No, feel free to hold it to the standard of Risible Bullshit if that's good enough to convince the sort of person you want to attract.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:06 PM on May 21, 2006


"Sometimes I wonder why we didn't fight back, why we didn't hold baseball bats in our hands."

ATTN HIPSTERS: The government which you helped to elect by staying at home in April and November, or "police state" as you like to call it, holds a monopoly over the legitimate use of force. For tips on changing this policy, please see Article Five of the US Constitution that you failed to read whilst in high school.
posted by The White Hat at 9:29 PM on May 21, 2006


Thank goodness we have "Godwin's Law" (and general misinterpretations of it) to prevent any comparisons to fascism in practice. Because a trite and overused net meme which states "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one" is relevent to...well very little really.

I wish Santayana's quote about "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" had the same power over the minds of people who like to dismiss comparison's to fascism as "Godwined".
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 9:34 PM on May 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


I find it fascinating that the mention of Hitler and the Nazis makes rational people turn purple and stuff their fingers in their ears.

... I also find it so very ... ummmm ... Neville Chamberlain-ish ...
posted by Surfurrus at 9:35 PM on May 21, 2006


And I find what it does to already irrational people, in the words of Alberto Gonzales on the Geneva Conventions and laws prohibiting torture to be "quaint".

Of course, the people sticking their fingers in their ears are right: The current administration isn't completely analogous to the Nazis. They are more like the old Soviet Union. And the difference between the two I leave for them to hum quiety to themselves.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 9:50 PM on May 21, 2006


I do not believe that they are saying that this is a fascist regime rather that acceptance of this kind of behavior from the government leads down a path of repression. I believe that this is a slipper slope and big brother is watching by its own admission. The first thing the Nazi's did when they came to power was quash dissent. The world’s first eugenics movement started in the USA not Germany. I am convinced that we are on the exact same slippery slope as the Germans were in 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, those years just prior to the death camps. And I am not suggesting that as we continue this course we will face concentration camps. I don't know if that's the case. I do know enough to say that it can happen here and I am scared.
posted by Rancid Badger at 9:52 PM on May 21, 2006



I find it fascinating that the mention of Hitler and the Nazis makes rational people turn purple and stuff their fingers in their ears.
... I also find it so very ... ummmm ... Neville Chamberlain-ish ...


Really, Surfurrus? I personally find it pragmatic. There are so many other, better comparisons that can be used in discussions about real or perceived government oppression. The constant cries of "Nazi!" and "Fascist!" no longer have the same ring that they used to. They've become symbols rather than arguments or comparisons.

These symbols attempt to imply so much more than simple oppression. Their very connotation conjures images of such evil that to use them in the context of the Bush Administration (as nefarious as it may be) denigrates both causes. The argument falls flat on its face for having implied such tyranny. Furthermore, nothing about the Bush Administration comes even close to the horrors of Nazi Germany. Nothing. Comparisons like that only serve to debase the memory of those atrocities, not to keep them fresh in the minds of the public as the Reverend so myopically put it.

Please, hipsters, stop using the Nazis. Talk about Sese Seko. Talk about Abacha. Talk about Putin. Talk about Vargas. But please, please stop talking about the Nazis. You'll sound a lot more intelligent and Elie Wiesel will thank you.
posted by The White Hat at 9:53 PM on May 21, 2006


ATTN HIPSTERS: The government which you helped to elect by staying at home in April and November, or "police state" as you like to call it, holds a monopoly over the legitimate use of force. For tips on changing this policy, please see Article Five of the US Constitution that you failed to read whilst in high school.

DING! Winner!
posted by frogan at 10:02 PM on May 21, 2006


Furthermore, nothing about the Bush Administration comes even close to the horrors of Nazi Germany.

So what, the comparison to Germany is only valid when we're really *really* close? I think you confuse the heading and the destination.
posted by c13 at 10:04 PM on May 21, 2006


I'd like to ask all the folks who are dismissing this offhand why the news media would feel the need to lie about there having been a 'bottle thrown' by "somebody" rather than explain that the police planned to do this in order to move people.
posted by eustatic at 10:10 PM on May 21, 2006


So what, the comparison to Germany is only valid when we're really *really* close? I think you confuse the heading and the destination.

In a word, yes. My argument is that comparison to Nazi Germany is and should forever be profane. The Rwandan Genocide is the only event in recent memory that I would deign even close to meriting a comparison to Hitler's Germany.

In another word, I'd also like to point out that the aim of many comparisons to Nazi Germany is exactly that for which you are accusing me: confusing heading and destination. Compare a caged "free speech zone" at the Republican Nat'l Convention to Auschwitz and you send a much more powerful message than an analysis of heading.
posted by The White Hat at 10:11 PM on May 21, 2006


I didn't even get to the Nazi part. All I needed to see was the fake 40s newsreel footage and the narrator's first line and I was outta there. It's one thing to build an actual argument, it's another to just start out of the gate with your conclusion in hand.
posted by smallerdemon at 10:16 PM on May 21, 2006


My argument is that comparison to Nazi Germany is and should forever be profane.

Well, while I agree with your second point, such comparisons do not necessarily have to be between now and Germany in '40-'45. Germany was very different in '32, for example.
posted by c13 at 10:28 PM on May 21, 2006


Well, while I agree with your second point, such comparisons do not necessarily have to be between now and Germany in '40-'45. Germany was very different in '32, for example.

Then why does the film use stock footage of concentration camps?
posted by The White Hat at 10:37 PM on May 21, 2006


"My argument is that comparison to Nazi Germany is and should forever be profane."

Isn't that, in and of itself, something of a totalitarian argument.

"You must never" do what I don't like?

Sure, some comparisions go over the top, but unfortunately, many are spot on.
posted by rougy at 10:40 PM on May 21, 2006


I was at that protest, and I can say that while it did get rough (especially once it got dark), the vast majority of that day went down peacefully on both sides. I'm not saying that there weren't some VERY questionable actions taken by police during the protest, or that some of the more radical actions by the protestors (shutting down I-5? Not the best move.) were ones that I would stand behind. I'm just saying that not everybody who protested was a hero, and not every cop was horrible.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:42 PM on May 21, 2006


Yeah, really. Like, you wanted to exercise your First Ammendment rights, and someone wanted you to stop. They asked you several times. WTF do you expect?
posted by c13 at 8:45 PM PST on May 21 [+fave] [!]


Your 1st Ammendmant rights do not include blocking traffic or threatening to shut down all business. If you want to have a protest, that's fine and dandy. Stand there with your sign on the sidewalk and hope people give a fuck. But don't run out in front of my car. This happened in Portland when the war started - I was there.

Also, anarchists in Eugene had done some nasty protests in the past, and the same crowd tore up Seattle for the WTO protests. NW hippie protests are always a threat to turn into a riot.
posted by b_thinky at 10:43 PM on May 21, 2006


Yeah, really. Like, you wanted to exercise your First Ammendment rights, and someone wanted you to stop. They asked you several times. WTF do you expect?
posted by c13 at 8:45 PM PST on May 21 [+fave] [!]


Your 1st Ammendmant rights do not include blocking traffic or threatening to shut down all business. If you want to have a protest, that's fine and dandy. Stand there with your sign on the sidewalk and hope people give a fuck. But don't run out in front of my car. This happened in Portland when the war started - I was there.

Also, anarchists in Eugene had done some nasty protests in the past, and the same crowd tore up Seattle for the WTO protests. NW hippie protests are always a threat to turn into a riot.
posted by b_thinky at 10:43 PM on May 21, 2006


"My argument is that comparison to Nazi Germany is and should forever be profane."
Isn't that, in and of itself, something of a totalitarian argument.


Not when I qualify it with my own comparison.

"You must never" do what I don't like?

Putting words in my mouth. I asked that you please stop, but I never said never.
posted by The White Hat at 10:51 PM on May 21, 2006


Then why does the film use stock footage of concentration camps?

Because it was made by amateurs. Because they are probably too worked up to be more subtle. Because more people reached through shock than a balanced, reasoned argument. Look at b_thinky: This happened in Portland when the war started - I was there. See, dirty hippy peaceniks are starting wars now. With bottles.
But just because the messenger is inept, does not mean that the message itself is worthless.
posted by c13 at 10:57 PM on May 21, 2006


"...I never said never."

"... should forever be profane."

That's close enough for me.
posted by rougy at 11:02 PM on May 21, 2006


The Rwandan Genocide is the only event in recent memory that I would deign even close to meriting a comparison to Hitler's Germany.

Darfur: Other authorities suggest that mortality is likely to be closer to 400,000

Congo: Amid a rapidly deteriorating security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) issued a mortality survey today which finds that more than 3.8 million people have died there since the start of the war in August 1998 and more than 31,000 civilians continue to die monthly as a result of the conflict.

If you're going to include Rwanda, these might make your (somewhat arbitrary, it seems to me) criteria as well. Just in the last decade or so, of course. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list.

Anyway, as far as the whole nazi thing goes, well, evil isn't really something we can effectively quantify, or rank qualitatively, is it? How much worse is murder of 10 than of 1, or 3000 than of 10, or 100000 than of 3000, or 6000000 (or 20000000, if we want to bring Stalin into the numbers game)?

How much less evil is the kind of torture that American citizens are doing this very minute to their prisoners, with the approval of their government, than the kind that Cambodians did to each other during the time of Pol Pot, at the behest of theirs?

How much worse was the Gulag Archipelago than the new American one?

How much are the deaths of tens of thousands Iraqis and more than 2000 soldiers excused by claims of Good Intentions and Mistaken Intelligence, and how much more tragic are they made by subsequent incompetence and corruption?

I don't know the answers to those questions. I don't think they can be answered, because they don't make any sense, to me at least.

But it is true that facile comparisons like these (and the ones in this thread and the video linked) do nobody any good, when we're talking about issues of life and death like this.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:03 PM on May 21, 2006


WhiteHat -

I reread your posts and I think I see where you're coming from. The Nazi allusions can be grossly overused, that's true.

But the essence of what happened in Nazi Germany - the overt suppression, the intolerance for dissent, the "with us or with the enemy" formula - it's not that different from modern day America, perhaps in scope, but not in kind.

Do you have any sample *.mp3’s on your site? I’d like to hear them.
posted by rougy at 11:14 PM on May 21, 2006


Because it was made by amateurs. Because they are probably too worked up to be more subtle[...]
But just because the messenger is inept, does not mean that the message itself is worthless.


Good point, and one that I think we can both agree upon- inept messengers make for ineffective communication. This sentiment is at the heart of my discontent with the radical left. Poorly spoken. Poorly organized. Poorly thought-out.

Honestly, I would have less of a problem if people used specific examples rather than the blanket terms of fascism and Nazism. The broad terms carry broader connotations and weaken not only the arguments but the historical events referenced therein. For example: a sharper and better thought-out argument would compare apparent police disregard of first amendment rights post-9/11 to the Reichstag Fire Decree of 1933.

If we keep political dissent pragmatic and specific rather than demagogic and generalized, we are bound to accomplish much, much more.

on preview: Stavros is also right. My criteria are rather arbitrary for comparing atrocities and my example of Rwanda should not have been singular. However, the economist within me holds that these tyrannies can be quantified, or at least held in perspective relative to each other. Rougy: yes, there's an mp3 section to the left in a drop-down menu.
posted by The White Hat at 11:16 PM on May 21, 2006




How did they come by the actual police footage? Was it stolen or was it willingly provided by the police department? Does the Portland PD have some kind of FOIA going?
posted by redteam at 11:32 PM on May 21, 2006


I really don't think the left is poorly spoken or that what we do is poorly thought out.

We are fighting an uphill battle, and the ignorance we face is more formidable than the corruption itself.

I still see images of the girl at a protest who was shot in the face with a wooden bullet. And I can see another image of a girl getting shot in the back. I recall a snapshot of a skinny boy who was about to be beaten on three side with truncheons.

In NYC, there were numerous reports of perfectly innocent people being rounded up in ham-fisted dragnets, and sent away for days in a filthy parking garage.

Here in red-state land, my path has crossed more than once with a person of quasi-militant bent, and their answer to any debate is often the threat of violence, if not the act itself.

A lot of guys get on those swat teams and riot squads and - I'll swear on a stack of Bibles - they can't wait to bust somebody's head.

But anyone who dares to point that out is reminded that they exist for our own good, and then we're just usually told to shut the fuck up.
posted by rougy at 11:39 PM on May 21, 2006


It is clearly very unacceptable to compare the US to Nazi Germany. Clearly. After all, in America, there is nothing unusual about police abuse. We shouldn't see it as some sign that things are on the way to concentration camps. It's just a tradition we have, like senior proms.

Or maybe people freak out and make such comparisons because, in December 2000, events occured that were beyond the imagination of most Americans. And it's been down hill every since. Any reasonable American that believes in what we say we stand for would be inclined to make such comparisons.

Of course all us jaded, cynical folks at Metafilter find such comparisons way over the top. America could never go that far. Could it?
posted by Goofyy at 12:31 AM on May 22, 2006


Wait, you show up to a protest and don't want the government to record you? Is this a joke?

A protest about the government need not be aimed directly at the government and its enforcers. Protests are used to raise general consciousness (to change voter behavior, for example), to attract media attention to events and to the fact that a number of people strongly oppose the official version of things, and to try to embarrass politicians into explaining themselves to the media and perhaps changing their actions.

The police should be there to keep immediate safety without disrupting the message, and definitely not to permanently record for unspecified future uses the identities of dissenters. They should not be there to try to intimidate people who just want to shout "Fuck Bush!" or whatever it is they want to say to passersby and the media, and even if intimidation is not the intent it is certainly the result. If perhaps police recordings are sometimes necessary to maintain immediate safety -- I'm not convinced they are, but suppose they are -- the recordings should still be destroyed after the event.

If the recordings aren't going to go away, I suggest that protesters at least bring more cameras, lots of cameras, with lots of capacity, and that they record the police in great detail. They should use decent recording equipment to catch remote conversations. And they should post the faces of bad police officers on web sites, post video and audio to youtube and the like, and try to determine and post their names and addresses, not just silly badge numbers that force you to go through the police to learn anything. Find out who they are and where they have their backyard barbecues when they aren't pushing and spraying and batoning people. If certain officers end up feeling a little nervous or intimidated or outraged, well, that's the point.
posted by pracowity at 1:20 AM on May 22, 2006


A protest about the government need not be aimed directly at the government and its enforcers. Protests are used to raise general consciousness (to change voter behavior, for example), to attract media attention to events and to the fact that a number of people strongly oppose the official version of things, and to try to embarrass politicians into explaining themselves to the media and perhaps changing their actions.

Yeah. Like THAT'S happened lately.
posted by IronLizard at 1:34 AM on May 22, 2006


Yeah. Like THAT'S happened lately.

Well, what other options are there other than a) redouble one's efforts at legal public protest and b) give up, stay home, and hope it all goes away?

Seriously.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:45 AM on May 22, 2006


Anyone who didn't see the last third of the video should make sure to watch the part where the Portland cops are planning the pepper spraying in the absence of any thrown bottles or other provocation on the part of the crowd. It's good stuff, and bad planning on the part of the filmmakers for making us wait for it until after multiple shots of over-obvious Nazi footage.
posted by mediareport at 3:22 AM on May 22, 2006


White Hat, I think that you've written some really well thought out comments. However, your own prejudices toward "hipsters" undermine your argument, much like the narrator's use of Nazi imagery undermines her argument.
posted by brevator at 6:04 AM on May 22, 2006


God I hate Myspace.
posted by wigu at 6:55 AM on May 22, 2006


God I hate Myspace.

Is this a case of shooting the messenger with pepper spray?
posted by Mr. Six at 8:45 AM on May 22, 2006


I was there, less than a quarter of a block away from the police line.

The problem with the Push-Spray-Push strategy is that there is no guarantee that everyone in a large crowd has heard the initial order. Since I couldn't hear the order from my position, you have a huge mass of crowd that isn't moving. In the movie, you can barely understand something being said over the PA system, and the camera is closer to the PA than any of the protesters. Even if the people at the police line want to get away, they're blocked by the crowd that didn't hear.

Here's the relevant parts from my K5 journal later that week:
This makes absolutely no sense to me. You can't just push on one end of a crowd and expect people on the other end of the crowd to know what the heck's going on and get out of the way so people can move. People on a confined street are like air in a tube. Lower the volume and you push up the pressure.

The police had loud speakers, but I don't recall them ever actually using them to communicate their intentions. I had always assumed that the police gave you a courtesy warning before they shot you with mace and rubber bullets. Apparently not.

The barricade was moved up the street and tear gas wafted over the intersection. A few protesters threw pop and water bottles towards the barricade. One guy came up to me and asked if he could have my empty bottle, habitually, I started to hand it to him when I stopped and said, "not if you're going to throw it."

A chant of "peaceful protest" rose up above the melee. That was one chant I joined in unhesitatingly. Things almost immediately calmed down.

This morning, Channel 12 news had some footage from the Carl's Jr. where I was standing. The cameraman was filming a stormtrooper-esque riot cop, who calmly turned, glanced at the cameraman long enough to register his presence and then proceeded to coat him in pepper spray. The morning show talking heads brushed it off like, "hyup. that happens sometimes. No big deal," then they returned to gawking over the live coverage of the uneventful Presidental motorcade to the airport.
I did not hear the order, and this video strengthens my belief that they already had their minds made up and made a token effort at best to disperse the crowd via lawful order.

The first sign that something was wrong, from my position, was the blur of black as the anarchist bloc retreated. I've met bystanders who were not part of the protest who somehow ended up being peppersprayed.

I saw some bottles being thrown (all plastic?) by three or four individuals after the police attack. The remaining crowd successfully worked to calm the counterattack.

So ignore the poor editorialization if you don't like the video. Remember, these are amateurs, not the polished TV copy writers that you're attuned to.

The police fucked up, badly. For what it's worth, one of the major players that day was Sgt. Mark Kruger, who, from the best I can tell is an honest-to-goodness Nazi-loving sociopath.

I think the question about why the police need to videotape peaceful protesters, without a crime being committed, is a very legitimate question. There's a major difference between the government videotaping an event for "evidence" (Without a crime being committed!) and the free media videotaping for publicity. Just as there's a difference between a private security camera in your apartment hallway and a government camera there. On the other hand, videotape hopefully also captures police abuses like we see here. I'd still rather see a third-party videotaping the cops.
posted by Skwirl at 9:05 AM on May 22, 2006


rougy and b_thinky appear to be confusing this protest with the Start of the Iraq War protests. August 22, 2002 was before the start of the Iraq war. Strategies of nonviolent peaceful resistance (such as shutting down freeways) were explored at a later date.

Nevertheless, I would argue that an individual or group stepping in front of b_thinky's car, right or wrong, does not justify police violence against a lawful protest.

The cries of "hipster" are really disturbing. Does it really help the situation to dehumanize people you disagree with with a label? The label doesn't even make any sense. Even the Nazi cliche makes more sense than hipster. So, uh, do you disagree with their clothes or their choice in music?

A few people here need to take a hard look at themselves and figure out exactly where this cynicism is coming from and whether it's really worthwhile to share it with the rest of us.
posted by Skwirl at 10:21 AM on May 22, 2006


White Hat I understand your concern about the 'over-use' of the Nazi/concentration camp analogy by fervent anti-fascist messengers these days. However, we need to ask whether this 'protection of history' has eclipsed the very reason for telling history -- to prevent repetition in the future. I don't buy your argument that the story of the Nazis has been 'over-told' and has lost its meaning ... I beieve the story is just 'under-explained'.

I don't believe most people in america really understand the years leading up to Kristallnacht -- and how fascism slowly unfolds. We need more historians (even Holocaust historians) to spend more time telling that part of the story. Hannah Arendt should be required reading.

Good, simple people with optimism and trust listened to their leaders and welcomed fascism into their lives.

Good leaders with the best of intentions told them not to worry.

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time... Go home and get a nice quiet sleep. ~ Chamberlain, 1938

Tell us that this is not happening now in america.
posted by Surfurrus at 10:23 AM on May 22, 2006


That is not happening now in America.
posted by mzurer at 11:02 AM on May 22, 2006


Liar!
posted by beerbajay at 11:05 AM on May 22, 2006


NW hippie protests are always a threat to turn into a riot.

LOL. Oh Jesus!

Give me a fucking break. If anything, and if were feeling REALLY froggy up here, a protest may turn into a rather lively pot-luck with --- good lord! --- smores and a sing along!
posted by tkchrist at 12:18 PM on May 22, 2006


The cries of "hipster" are really disturbing. Does it really help the situation to dehumanize people you disagree with with a label?

It doesn't. For what it's worth, it also doesn't help the situation to refer to cops as Nazis. I believe I've already made it clear that the people who I am targeting are the uninformed yet outspoken individuals who cry 'Nazi' more oft than the boy who cried 'Wolf." The wolf-criers have yet to provide me with a convincing, cogent argument that the nation is on a slippery slope to anywhere.

As a DC resident, I witness almost weekly protests down the middle of my street (19th) or elsewhere in the area. Not even the large peace rally in the fall elicited the kind of police reaction that was exhibited in August of '02 (though the 4x4"-toting anarchists were certainly ready for it).

This is all anecdotal evidence, of course. As is the video above, as are the majority of the arguments made by wolf-criers. And, yes. Wolf-crier is also a label.

I don't buy your argument that the story of the Nazis has been 'over-told' and has lost its meaning ... I beieve the story is just 'under-explained'.

Over-simplified, even. I've already clarified my point that it's not the use of specific historical examples like Kristellnacht with which I'm upset. It's the Fascist or Nazi epithet that bugs me. (Possibly for similar reasons the "hipster" epithet bugs skwirl - the implications are far greater than the word itself).
posted by The White Hat at 12:33 PM on May 22, 2006


I'm afraid this video was hilaaaaaariously over the top.

The issues are real, but the commentary was terrible.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:45 PM on May 22, 2006


I stayed away from the protest that day, and listened in at home on the police scanner instead. Earlier on I had been to the park blocks and saw police from all around the area staging at Shymansky Park on 7th and Salmon. There were police from all over the area, including Beaverton, Tigard, etc.

I also observed helicopter observation on the rooftops of the large buildings downtown by a large black blackhawk. I also observed possible troop deployments to the tops of some buildings. That's when I decided to stay home.

At one point a couple hours into the action, I heard from the Beaverton police who were stationed at the Burnside bridge on the west side. They were out of tear gas and requesting more. The Portland police department denied them their request and said "Let them have the bridge."
posted by Sukiari at 1:08 PM on May 22, 2006


Some things violate a reasonable expectation of privacy. This is not one of them.

It is perfectly legal to photograph anyone in public places, whether you are an LEO or just a civilian, so long as you are not using the pic or video for commercial purposes, in which case you need a model release.

There is nothing wrong with videotaping people who are protesting in the public square.
posted by splitpeasoup at 1:19 PM on May 22, 2006


Give me a fucking break. If anything, and if were feeling REALLY froggy up here, a protest may turn into a rather lively pot-luck with --- good lord! --- smores and a sing along!

Over a dumpster fire, no doubt.

I think the question about why the police need to videotape peaceful protesters, without a crime being committed, is a very legitimate question.

Agreed -- unfortunate that the discussion is mired in high emotions and not aided by pepper spray and batons.

The clear implication is that the taping is used for Very Bad Things, and recent evidence seems to bear out that this is occasionally true.

I can see a certain non-paranoid justification for the taping too, along these lines. If it goes off, you want to have your tape rolling and some good shots of folks who make you feel itchy in the can, just in case you need to track them down later.

An not for nothing I say this: While I wasn't a face in -that- crowd, I've been a face on tape down here before and its more than a little weird to be looking back at the lens poking out of the umarked cruiser long, long after the protest has settled down and people are having dinner and resting on private property.

Its easy enough to shrug off, though. I wasn't going to set anything on fire and I almost thought that maybe it was worth it to keep folks a little in check. The neighborhoods we pass through have as much right to safety and security as we do.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:29 PM on May 22, 2006


Do we really need to quibble about whether we're heading towards Hitler's Germany? All we need to know is that we're heading in a foreseeable direction and it's a very, very bad one. If you've read everything that's been posted in the blue for the past few years and you don't agree with that, then you're mother f-ing hopeless.

If we're really talking about, "how can we put our message out more effectively," then how about toning down the condescension, since that' s not particularly effective, either. The best thing we can do is edit up our own version of this movie.

Personally, I think the commentary had several good points to make that are being drowned out in this discussion:
1) Portland Police have acted without provocation or laws broken, both in individual arrests and anti-crowd actions.
2) The Portland Police acted on behalf of an elite group's wishes against the public, with no visible preplanning to reduce dangers to the public.
3) The motive for videotaping protests is not readily apparent to the public and it not necessarily in the public's interest.

August 22, 2002 doesn't even begin to plumb the depths of the fuckedupitide of the PPD in recent years. Their casual use of more than lethal force is also well documented.
posted by Skwirl at 1:48 PM on May 22, 2006


If you've read everything that's been posted in the blue for the past few years and you don't agree with that, then you're mother f-ing hopeless.

Brilliant!
posted by b1tr0t at 4:17 PM on May 22, 2006


For those who are interested: a friend was at that demonstration and took a lot of photos and wrote a fairly good essay on the matter. There were asshole demonstraters, but all in all the cops were at fault. And the order to disperse was barely heard by anybody in the crowd (he was at the barracade and had trouble hearing the order when it was given). At the same time, after the cops acted, it seems that the "let me get beat up so I can get laid" contingent of the protest started to really act in way the tried to force further confrontation.

I'd also like to point out that those pepper ball guns can be deadly: as seen in Boston after the Red Sox beat the Yankees for the penate in game 7 in 2004. It's also interesting reading how the cops in Boston acted differently than the cops in Portland, and yet despite acting (in my opinion) better than the PPD, the BPD actually killed someone. Food for thought.
posted by Hactar at 6:15 PM on May 22, 2006


Could someone enlighten me as to why protesters would be so upset that the cops were videotaping them? I mean, what are they afraid the cops are going to do with the video?

It seems that, viewed in another light, the videotaping might actually be seen as a good thing, because it would provide exculpatory evidence if the protesters were charged with crimes that they did not commit.
posted by jayder at 7:34 PM on May 22, 2006


"NW hippie protests are always a threat to turn into a riot."

Good. Maybe that state is liberal for a reason.
posted by Dean Keaton at 8:21 PM on May 22, 2006


White Hat -

"... The wolf-criers have yet to provide me with a convincing, cogent argument that the nation is on a slippery slope to anywhere."

Then you're not paying attention.

A clearly stolen election in 2000. Pre-9/11 intelligence squashed or subverted. Subsequent 9/11 investigations blocked by the Bush administration. Mass media repeating verbatim and unquestioned the administration's talking points. A trumped up war based on a nonexistent threat. The detention of suspects without charge or trial. Abu Ghraib. Guantanamo Bay. Corporations writing their own governmental regulations. Mercenary armies constituting the second largest military body in Iraq and probably Afghanistan. Paperless voting with results that are orders of magnitude removed from statistical forecasts (no investigations).

I like you, White Hat, but if you think everything is hunkey-dory in our country right now and nothing is getting worse, you really need to open your eyes.
posted by rougy at 10:10 PM on May 22, 2006


Could someone enlighten me as to why protesters would be so upset that the cops were videotaping them? I mean, what are they afraid the cops are going to do with the video?


They're worried that the departments in question would catalog, index, label, profile and otherwise record protesters for the sole purpose of discourging displays of dissent.

Just the thought of it actively discourages many arguably "normal" people from protesting.

Or worse, that they would use such a database to actively harass and otherwise unjustly punish protesters.

Think it doesn't happen? It does. Someone I know once organized a permitted and peaceful protest, and he ended up on LAPD's "shit list" for several years. He was randomly and excessively pulled over and verbally harassed for about two years after that. (It was a rally and protest in favor of marijuana decriminalization.)

Yeah, he tried to file complaints. Filing complaints with the LAPD is like trying to file a complaint with a rampaging 800 pound gorilla. It does about as much good as yelling at a tsunami.

And what proof would he have, especially if the officers in question just kept pulling him over and not writing any tickets or filing any paperwork?

And what's he going to do? Take photos? Ever try to photograph or videotape a cop? Even though it's 100% legal and ethical in almost every jurisdiction? They tend to get pissed off to the point of violence.

It seems that, viewed in another light, the videotaping might actually be seen as a good thing, because it would provide exculpatory evidence if the protesters were charged with crimes that they did not commit.

In theory, yes. But police departments don't have a habit of self-incriminating themselves, conveniently "losing" or "burying" such incriminating footage. But they sure can find it in a hurry if they're attempting to prosecute someone.
posted by loquacious at 12:55 AM on May 23, 2006


In theory, yes. But police departments don't have a habit of self-incriminating themselves, conveniently "losing" or "burying" such incriminating footage. But they sure can find it in a hurry if they're attempting to prosecute someone.
Seconded. The movie shows concise examples that the police video is used for profiling and not for oversight. It's silly to think that a police cameraman is going to sit there and film a Rodney King style beating and it's naive to think that, if incriminating film is taken, there wouldn't be an attempt at cover-up. Notice how it's 2006 and we're just now seeing comparatively benign footage from 2002. The police camera stops just before the police riot, even though that's the most important time for oversight.

This is all a matter of who you trust. I recognize that officers are individuals who don't always have altruistic intentions in joining the force. I recognize that police departments are institutions that enforce loyalty and obedience above accountability, that the DA is biased towards police and that police unions are a powerful political force.

So, while they're out there profiling pre-criminals at peaceful protests, there's plenty of real crime in the world to investigate. IIRC, Portland's unsolved homicide rate has just about doubled because of department cuts in recent years.
posted by Skwirl at 10:17 AM on May 23, 2006


Think it doesn't happen? It does. Someone I know once organized a permitted and peaceful protest, and he ended up on LAPD's "shit list" for several years. He was randomly and excessively pulled over and verbally harassed for about two years after that. (It was a rally and protest in favor of marijuana decriminalization.)

I find this really hard to believe. What you are saying is that there is a LAPD "shit list," complete with photographs, that the officers review and memorize, and that as officers are patrolling among the millions of unknown people driving cars in Los Angeles, the cops are able to recognize the faces, such as that of your friend, on the shit list. I just don't buy it.

It sounds like he was a crappy driver, who drew the attention of police, and that his paranoia led him to believe that they were singling him out because of his protest activities. (Some protesters might think such attention from the police is "prestigious.")

(Disclaimer: I don't doubt that there are many vicious thugs on police forces. I just think being afraid of their videotaping is a little silly. I haven't heard any plausible explanation of why this is something to be afraid of.)
posted by jayder at 11:52 AM on May 23, 2006


Over a dumpster fire, no doubt.

Oh please. I was HERE at WTO. I marched. I sniffed tear gas coming inmy frigg'n windows all night. And.

About 50% of the people there were from out of state.

Do you know how many protests wee have up here? Dozens per year. You know how many turn into riots? Maybe 2%.

And our "riots" are about tame as riots get. So a couple of dip shit looters, who were not even protesters, looted a Starbucks? Big deal. There were tens of thousands of people here.

Tell me about our riots after you been to a Pistons home game. Those fuckers light the city on fire over a losing a goddamned game.

Or better yet go to protests in Europe. Now THAT's a party.

NW hippie riots. Jesus.
posted by tkchrist at 11:55 AM on May 23, 2006


It sounds like he was a crappy driver, who drew the attention of police, and that his paranoia led him to believe that they were singling him out because of his protest activities. (Some protesters might think such attention from the police is "prestigious.")

It is hard to believe. He's not a crappy driver. And if you're inferring his paranoia is drug related - he didn't even smoke pot. He was a middle-aged, clean and "normal" looking adult white male.

But he got pulled over almost once a day, and at least once a week for a bit over two years.

Did you ever read or hear about the LAPD's Rampart Scandal? "Shit lists" are indeed maintained and memorized by corrupt cops.

It's easy to do - in fact, it's natural. They already do such memorizations for briefings and wanted criminal lists. It's the smallest reach of the imagination to think that the same skills could be used to harass.
posted by loquacious at 1:51 PM on May 23, 2006


loquacious:

Well, maybe you're right. That's scary. I'll look up the Rampart Scandal.

And no, actually I wasn't implying that it was drug-related paranoia, although I see that it kind of sounded like that.
posted by jayder at 4:46 PM on May 23, 2006


heh, jayder & loquacious - I was thinking that it was probably the bunch of bud leaf stickers on the back of his car that was to blame before the last comment. Shit, this guy getting pulled over more than once a week scares the hell out of me. Wow.

BTW, jayder, if, after doing your Rampart scandal research you decide to visit wonderful Los Angeles, I highly recommend visiting "The Short Stop" bar some night during the week (the weekends have become a bit much). It was the scandalous cop bar during that time period. Enjoy the gun lockers at the rear, the nightstick bannisters, the badge collection, the cozy indoor feel, and the beautiful youth of today.
posted by redteam at 10:20 PM on May 23, 2006


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