Cop beats homeless Indian in Eugene, Oregon park, witness says

Tom Boland (
Sun, 24 Oct 1999 12:00:40 -0700 (PDT)

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Subject: Police FORCE overzealous, Do What You Can!
From: Indigenous Support Coalition of Oregon <>
Date: 1999/10/21
Newsgroups: eug.local.activists

Fri 10/22 National Day Against Police Brutality- 3 pm EMU Courtyard (UO)
at E 13th Ave and University St, then 5 pm on to Lane County Jail W 5th &
Charnelton St in Eugene; "If we get there" said one organizer, which I am
guessing means there may be a march without a permit, which cops *hate*.


	><	Words on Police Brutality in Eugene, Oregon	><

Last week a homeless Indian man was beaten in a Eugene park for placing
feathers in the ground (according to someone who talked to an eye
witness).  Apparently there is a city park code violation against making
an unauthorized hole in the ground and the cops don't have the wisdom to
oversee this "violation" when the holes are only big enough to hold the
stem of a feather.  The same cop seen off her beat at our Freedom Walk was
seen kicking the Indian man in the groin three times.  He had told her
that he didn't have ID but he was willing to tell her his name.  Having
experienced first-hand how eager cops are to overreact to political
activists over simple city park code violations, I believe this account.

*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*

A couple of years ago I went to a Food Not Bombs feed in a Eugene park.  I
noticed as I gathered signatures on several petitions that the cops were
circling like sharks.  We had a peaceful time eating and talking in
circles (one topic was, how do we raise children in a police state?).

Then I left the circle to pack up some fliers I had on an info table (one
of the fliers was a press release about police blockades at Black Mesa).

Two cops came up to me at the table and asked me what group I was with.  I
asked them why they needed to know.  They informed me the banner on the
tree beside the table was illegal.  I took it down and they took it from
me.  They asked me to go to their car to receive a ticket.  I asked them
if they could give it to me there (I was afraid of them, just two weeks
prior, a cop had shot and killed a suspected drug dealer by using the butt
of his gun to break a car window.  This was not the first killing by him.)

They threatened to take me in cuffs if I did not go with them.  So I went
and as I walked I noticed that no one in the circle saw me leaving, so I
yelled to the nearest person "Hey could I get a witness?" and soon some
people came over to see what was going on.  It was like the cops were back
in 'Nam or something.  They held the witnesses over thirty feet away and
called for back up, and would not let me explain, I just wanted a witness.

I was screamed at by one cop who threatened to arrest me for inciting to
riot.  There was no riot.  The cops took pictures and the witnesses took
pictures.  Back-up arrived so there were six cops, standing in formation,
holding pepper spray and some with hands on their holsters.  I was scared.

Again the cop asked me what group I was with and again I asked him why he
needed to know.  Then he finally asked for my ID and I immediately
complied.  I asked him why he had twice asked what group I was with before
he asked for my ID and he looked away and bit his lip.  He messed up.

The cop then seemed to try to console me by trying to relate to me, asking
how long I'd lived in Eugene, telling me he'd been here a while too.  I
explained that whether he was in uniform or not, I do not walk away with
strange men without someone knowing where I go (it's long been suspected
that the Green River Killer was a cop, that he had inside info on the
investigation and was able to avoid arrest that way, in fact a suspect was
held on unrelated charges and when his house was searched, cop uniforms
and papers were found, but he was not charged for killing prostitutes.)

I got a $115 ticket for a city park code violation for having a banner on
a tree, and at trial the cops lied.  In fact they could not answer some
questions without referring to their report.  After much legal research
costing the City of Eugene untold funds, they convicted me.  At my
sentencing a different judge asked "What was the big deal, anyways?"

We shrugged, and he suspended my fine and told me "Don't get caught doing
it again in the next year."  But the city put their efforts to good use
after all; now, you cannot put up a poster on a street pole, if they
catch you, you'll be fined $115- $500 per poster.  It's a "visual blight".

So, now I tell people to keep their posters to bulletin boards and store
windows, and as you can expect there is even more competition from groups
for space to advertise their events (which is why e-mail is so important).

And there are warning signs on light posts all down E. 13th.  The law was
already on the books but now they are enforcing it.  One cop told me we
can't even put out a sign for a garage sale, not even on the little strip
of grass between the sidewalk and the street.  That time I got a warning.

Our freedoms are eroding folks, and now is *not* the time to hide at home
or cower.  When we "Speak Out" we are not only doing it for Leonard
Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal or for Black Mesa, we are doing it for ourselves.

You don't have to jump on someone's car hood or break a store window to
get your point across, although personally, I can understand some people's
frustration and willingness to push the limits.  Some think writing a
letter is useless.  I think we need to try a variety of strategies over
and over again and not give up, and excersize our FREEDOM OF SPEECH,

If you don't favor getting pepper sprayed, you may want to avoid joining
in riots, or situations that cops may misconstrue as a potential riot or
"illegal" march, and I don't blame you.  I like to breathe.  But we all
need to get involved in issues we care about, agitate, and NO
on Lane County Measure 20-25 & State Measures 69- 75!  Repeal Measure 11!

Use your personal power to fight the abuse of power, for the kids, please!


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