Dan Kaufman’s media trike confiscated by police during J25 protests – UPDATED

Kaufman at an Occupy Portland
event in November.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Local media activist, musician and filmmaker Dan Kaufman of Crank My Chain! CycleTV had his “Disco Trike” impounded by the Portland Police tonight. Kaufman was downtown participating in the “J25” Occupy Portland event in support of the Egyptian uprising. It was planned as a peaceful march, but a large police presence was made and there were tense moments and several arrests. According to The Oregonian, it was the “most contentious Occupy Portland protest in more than a month.”

Kaufman has played an active role at Occupy Portland, especially with the PDX Bike Swarm (we profiled him about involvement back in November).

Kaufman was issued a citation tonight for violation of Portland City Code 14A.30.020: “Unlawful Operation of Sound Producing Equipment.” Kaufman maintains that he was not playing music at the time he was cited (see below for more details).

In addition to the citation, the police have taken Kaufman’s trike. The trike — a fixture at bike events throughout the city for years — is a rolling media center that includes professional audio and video equipment and the ability to connect to the web. Along with the trike, the PPB have impounded his amp, an iPod inverter, power batteries, microphones, and an Ortlieb pannier with other gear inside of it.

Kaufman is upset because he relies on the trike for his livelihood. In an email tonight, he said,

“They said they had warned me about the music so they were just busting me from earlier I think. They have been noticing me at a lot of protests and apparently don’t like the disco trike – but that has not been my experience. On more than one occasion the music I play from it has helped cool things down.”

Kaufman hosts a nightly, live Internet radio show called “Bike Check” and he addressed the situation on his show tonight:

“When you guys [the police] were going all ape s*#@… who turned on the Bob Marley? It was me, and everything chilled way down, including you!

You wanna’ take that away? I’m there to peacefully protest and do my first amendment right… This goes out to the mayor and everyone else … What kind of country do you want to live in? Think about that!”

Kaufman says he’s not going away and judging from comments I’ve read, it seems like the confiscation of the Disco Trike will only bring more support for the cause and a larger response. In the chat room that accompanies Kaufman’s live show, supporters wrote, “We will recover The Trike. The People’s Trike… You can’t stop the music baby… Who’s trike? Our trike!”

Kaufman is scheduled to appear in court on February 13th.

UPDATE, 2:12 pm: Here’s footage from the incident just uploaded to YouTube:

UPDATE, 12:30pm:
The Portland Mercury has more about what happened:

But things quickly got un-chill as the crowd marched around the fenced-in Lownsdale Park and Chapman Square and set up on the Elk statute in the middle of Main Street, shouting, “Whose parks?! Our parks!” Several mounted police in riot gear as well as an estimated two dozen officers on bikes rolled up to the protest and began issuing citations and making arrests.

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