— Dan McCarthy (@DanMcKATU) July 16, 2020
A disturbing video shot by a KATU news reporter this morning shows a Portland Police officer throwing a person off their bike. The incident happened on the southwest corner of Southwest 4th and Main.
In the video the bicycle riders rolls north on SW 4th. The context of what happened prior to the violent tackling of the bicycle rider is unclear; but it does not appear that the person was being aggressive or otherwise threatening to the officers. It’s also hard to tell if the rider was given any clear, audible warning before the violent attack by the officers. Regardless, this behavior from Portland Police is totally unacceptable and should not be tolerated by anyone.
Here’s what we do know about the context…
This morning at 5:02 am the PPB announced via Twitter that Chapman Square and Lownsdale Square are no longer open to the public (carrying out a decision made by Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau). “Everyone must vacate to the north beyond the sidewalk or be subject to arrest for trespassing and subject to use of force. This order includes journalists. The park is closed. Everyone has 10 minutes to leave,” the PPB wrote.
The video of officers tackling the bicycle rider were posted one hour later.
Both of the park blocks across the street from the Justice Center have been the site of protests against racism and police brutality for many weeks since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In recent days the encampment has grown to include a free food vendor.
This morning the PPB began erecting a fence around the parks, declared the adjacent public street closed, and threatened forceful arrest for anyone who didn’t comply. This comes a day after armed federal troops were filmed driving around the same area in unmarked minivans and snatching people off the street without explaining why (more on this from Oregon Public Broadcasting). The PPB — with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s full support and now aided by heavily-armed federal troops sent by the Trump Administration to “quell” nightly protests — have become increasing violent in recent weeks.
We’re unsure of the rider’s condition or status and will update this post when we know more.
The behavior of many Portland Police officers is extremely troubling. Portlanders have the right to assemble in public spaces and to express themselves. There’s no time limit on this constitutional right. These violent actions in our public right-of-way raise many serious red flags and call into question our local leaders’ ability to protect and serve.
UPDATE, 7/17 at 6:21 am: New video and reporting from that same KATU reporter shows more of what happened before the rider — who has been identified as Brandon Thomas — was tackled. In the video he’s shown riding on SW 4th before this and there looks to be a verbal interaction with police. Thomas was tackled after riding back down the street after it appears police told him to disperse. KATU says he was arrested for interfering with a police officer and disorderly conduct.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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