Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 14th, 2014 at 1:02 pm
Portland Police have issued a ticket to a protestor who was taking part in a march downtown yesterday.
The march was organized by Don’t Shoot PDX, a fledgling group of activists who have organized a sustained movement for more police accountability and justice following protests in Ferguson, Missouri that started last month.
According to people involved with the march, there was a collision on West Burnside near Powell’s Books between someone driving a car and one of the marchers. A man who has uploaded video footage from the scene alleges that the driver swerved into protestors and yelled, “Get a job” before running over a man’s foot. The driver did not stop.
There was almost immediate outrage on Twitter once people learned that not only was the driver not charged with anything, but the man whose foot was run over was the one given a citation.
Below is a video from the scene uploaded by Multnomah County Copwatch:
In the video, PPB Officer Anthony Passadore dismisses allegations that the driver yelled “Get a job” before running over a man in the street. Passadore said the driver’s alleged statement was “free speech issue” just like the protestors were taking part in.
Today the Portland Police Bureau offered their side of the story. In an official statement, the PPB confirmed 19-year-old Julian Rist suffered a foot and ankle injury. When officers responded, the statement says, “medical personnel were delayed due to all traffic in the area being blocked by the protest march.”
Here’s more from the official statement:
“Witnesses told police that the involved vehicle was driving eastbound on Burnside at the time of the crash and continued driving out of the area.
At approximately 3:30 p.m., the Milwaukie Police Department received a call from 37-year-old Thomas Munsey, who told police that he was involved in the crash but was too afraid to stop as the protesters surrounded his car and he was concerned for his safety and the safety of his family.
Traffic Division officers conducted the investigation and learned that Munsey was driving his 2015 Audi SUV eastbound on Burnside Street. The protest crowd of 30 or more people was in the street blocking traffic.
Rist was part of the group and was not in a crosswalk, standing in the eastbound lanes of Burnside Street when one of Munsey’s tires came into contact with one of Rist’s feet. Munsey drove slowly through the crowd and out of the area before calling 9-1-1.
After the completion of the investigation, officers issued the pedestrian, Rist, was given a citation for Improper Position on a Highway (ORS 814.070).”
People involved with Don’t Shoot PDX tell us they have retained the services of the National Lawyer’s Guild in order to look into this incident further.
CORRECTION, 4:31 pm: An earlier version of this story stated that “witnesses at the scene” alleged that Munsey yelled “get a job” prior to running over Rish. I made a mistake and should have made it clear that the only person making that allegation was the man making the video. I regret the error.