Community Forum on Police Response to Port Demonstrations

[via omjp]

Tonight (Sunday, November 11)
6:30 pm
Traditions Cafe

Yesterday, citizens of this community were brutally victimized by the Olympia Police for taking non-violent direct action to oppose the use of our public port by the military.

Others, including myself, were pepper sprayed and shoved with batons for doing nothing more than being there to witness and document the events, and for trying to help the injured.

The war abroad has now become the war at home. And it’s a war being waged against your friends and neighbors.

Regardless about how you feel about the use of our port by the military, it is important to understand that what is happening to your friends and neighbors who demonstrate against it is a threat to the civil rights and liberty of everyone.

There will be an important community forum tonight at 6:30pm at Traditions to document and discuss what happened. It is very important that the people of this community turn out to bear witness to the stories of brutality, and to help the victims process their trauma.

Please, please, please. Clear your schedule of other obligations and join us at Traditions tonight at 6:30 pm.

Contact me if you have questions, and please share this widely.

TJ Johnson
tjjohnson@scattercreek.com
360-943-4596 (home)

Comments

Hard...

to take you seriously with a screen name like unabonger, nothing ends the stereotypes quicker than that. Guys like me who are here to try and understand the folks whom they mostly disagree with,all of the time, find it hard to get over the streotypes that are out there. Every duscussion ends up in long manifestos and broad themed essays that boil down to not liking the president or blaming a 29 year old officer for enforcing the law. Help me....

Glad you asked :)

I like your post here, you are honestly working to communicate. Maybe those of us who do want to understand can ask each other questions, talk back and forth, keep the channels open, without assuming and lashing out in frustration. Cause admittedly it can get very frustrating, for all of us, no matter our opinions.

yeah, as if....

HAHAHA, Oh that's funny. . . . .

I'm sorry, but . . . you should really re-think this, you write well, but your 'reasonator' is off-kilter. . . .

"Citizens who engage in such activity are engaging in VIOLENCE and should not be surprised by a proportional response from those whose job is to maintain public order.

OlyPMR's actions are VIOLENT! The police have responded with admirable restraint in the face of this violence."

 

NOT peaceful protest

When citizens intentionally physically block other citizens going about their business, it is not a "peaceful" protest.

When citizens destroy private property and throw trash on a public thoroughfare, it is not a peaceful protest.

When citizens refuse to comply with peace officers legal orders it is not a peaceful protest.

Citizens who engage in such activity are engaging in VIOLENCE and should not be surprised by a proportional response from those whose job is to maintain public order.

OlyPMR's actions are VIOLENT! The police have responded with admirable restraint in the face of this violence.

And congratulations for once again turning the focus from the important issue (Iraq) into a bogus fight over police brutality. Doing so only further dilutes your already muddled message.

OlyPMR is completely tone-deaf about how to really make a difference in ending this war by choosing to publically masturbate instead of doing something meaningful. It's actions have actually done more harm to the anti-war movement by allowing the right-wing noise machine to paint all of us who oppose the war with the same anarchist/socialist/anti-American brush. That in turn allows them to keep the war going.

I hate this war like the VAST majority of the American public, but your actions are embarrassing beyond measure. Make a real difference, do something constructive, and stop pretending that these "direct actions" do anything to end this evil war.

and I do agree that . .

. . . right wing nutjobs love pointing at the "silly" protesters and making fun of the greeners, but OlyPMR is trying *first*, to get attention so that regular people do speak out about the divisive schism in America that is "GW Bush's Iraq War", and *second*, attempt to stop the shipments through Non-Violent means, which they wouldn't have done anyway, if the Police would just have arrested them one-by-one, peacefully. (They were willing to be arrested or they would have obeyed the officer's "questionably lawful" orders.)

First get the people angry (and I'm damned angry about how the police handled PEACEFUL protesters), THEN, and only THEN, will they get off their asses and do something, pathetic sheep. . . . 

Cosmo

Let's try some more creative characterizations

How's about: "latent protesters?"


When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. -C.P. Snow

Beware the terrible simplifiers.
Jacob Burckhardt

Cops Without Guns?

Yes!!!

Take their guns away, they'll have to behave like the rest of us "CIVILians".  A civilian review board would be great, unfortunately, the Police do not like their actions scrutinized, as many of them do not seem to follow any serious ethical standards, and rarely are held accountable for violations.

Cosmo

 

except...

i'm fairly confident none of the folks i'm quoting were slave traders. 

but i don't want to derail this thread, sorry if it started leaning that way.

i agree with you mike. i think a citizen review board with firing and pay raising powers, made up of elected citizens is the only way to begin keeping police in line. that and disarming them.

Rights?

Hey if we're concerned with people's rights I have issues with this "a citizen review board with firing and pay raising powers." The cops have a union where issues of pay and termination are bargained. I don't think we should be intruding in that process.

The cops don't have a union,

The cops don't have a union, they have a guild. And if they mess up, there should be accountability. A citizen review board would provide that, and the threat of lost wages might make officers think twice about their actions.

Union, guild whatever

it's still recognized as the exclusive representative as far as collective bargaining goes. if we want to make changes we need to respect that process. Imagine applying the same logic to to other organized workers, you're right in Bush's camp.

Can we agree on one thing?

Can we agree on one thing?  That thing being that the group of public employees who are authorized by the community to wield deadly force in the community may be subject to a different level of public scrutiny than say, union workers at a factory? 

 

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." President Dwight D. Eisenhower April 16, 1953

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." President Dwight D. Eisenhower April 16, 195

I disagree,

because other organized workers are not public servants. We the people are supposed to be their "bosses". Somehow we get left out of that.

A citizen review board would

A citizen review board would provide that, and the threat of lost wages might make officers think twice about their actions.

It would also make a lot of people question whether the profession is worth getting involved with.

Friday there's no police response and businesses can't carry on with -- well -- business (not to mention numerous Olympia and Thurston County citizens upset with the inaction.)

Saturday there's a police response in which people were warned (as we saw from The Olympian's video) that they were in violation of numerous laws and that, at the least, they needed to get out of the street. The fault? With the police, of course!

It's just not a profession worth getting involved with. You try to do the right thing and enforce the laws and use the tools which society has provided you and you're at risk of "[losing] wages" so you can "think twice about [your] actions," as if the possibility of a civil suit every time you make a decision wasn't enough.

I actually want to go into law enforcement and continue working in public service. I'm only a few years from making that decision.

It's days like this I think working for Blackwater or any other corporation would be a far better option.

You're not a libertarian anymore are you?

I'm hearing from you that you believe that in some way, police should be protected from public scrutiny, because they couldn't properly do their jobs if they thought somebody was watching. Yes?

I want citizen review not for these protests, but for the everyday encounters. Citizens review would also protect the police from frivolous lawsuits, if they are innocent.

You're not a libertarian

You're not a libertarian anymore are you?

I'd say I've learned to be more practical.

police should be protected from public scrutiny, because they couldn't properly do their jobs if they thought somebody was watching.

What I'm saying is that not only does judicial review of your actions exist (both civil and criminal), but now we're talking about another layer of accountability.

That's three layers of "oversight" wanting to take away your paycheck and, in some instances, your freedom. Why? For doing a job. That's not to mention your address and picture being used to identify you. So, in order to working in local law enforcement, you have to surrender any privacy and hope today isn't the day you make the wrong decision and lose anything you've worked for.

We're all the same and one thing people like is at least the prospect of job security.

At the very least, police will just stand on the sideline and do nothing. There's simply too much risk involved with making a decision (not to mention the people who will be second-guessing that decision sit in an office. That's a big reason why Officers aren't the most popular part of the Armed Forces.)

More likely? People just won't go into the profession because it won't be worth it.

Not just a Job.

They are public servants.

The reason citizen review is wanted by so many in the community is because there is no accountability right now. People that need the accountability can't afford lawyers, and their complaints stop at the Chief's roundfile.

oh, i was just kidding about the whole libertarian thing, it really doesn't make a difference to me.

They are public servants.At

They are public servants.

At what point does it become public slave?

When you stop paying them

and force them to do a job they do not want to do. I'd say we are a very long way from that.

Citizen Review Board

I am on the fence about the event tonight.  I don't think that it is easy to bring law enforcement agencies to task when they engage in excessive use of force.  The whole law enforcement system - from emergency phone system, to police administrators, to prosecutors, to judges - is inclined to protect its own at the expense of citizens.

I would ask everyone to remember how responsive the Tacoma Police Department and the law enforcement system was to Crystal Brame when she sought protection from her former husband, Police Chief David Brame. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, here is my earlier post about it. 

I think the only effective means to control a police force is through a citizen review board that has the authority to suspend a police office without pay or fire an officer for violations of community standards for law enforcement. 

I encourage all to consider helping to establish powerful citizen review boards to provide oversight and accountability to the agencies that the community authorizes to use force in service to the community.

Anything less than a powerful, citizen-controlled review board will serve the community about as well as the justice system served Crystal Brame in Tacoma.  

 

 

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." President Dwight D. Eisenhower April 16, 1953

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." President Dwight D. Eisenhower April 16, 195

Independent Review Panels

I like the idea that ordinary people can take public testimony, and speak of their own experiences, in a way which makes the violence police use PUBLIC and POLITICAL. The problem with almost all use of police force against people is that it is almost always the police who outnumber (and almost always out-power) the people. Victims are alone, feel unheard (especially by our Mayor, who wrote to me that I have yet to 'convince' anyone that we have a problem with police violence here), and are often self-isolating in their trauma. Being beaten up is very hard to speak out about. Being raped is even less easy to speak about. And no one can tell us about being killed.

I also use the term "independent review panels" because you don't have to be a citizen to need or use human rights, and you don't want to perpetuate the idea that cops should be soldiers and non-cops are "civilians." So for me, citizen and civilian review are terms to avoid in favor of independence.

How do we dismantle power-over by holding power over police? Money is a big one, we can dismantle budgets - but the baby will plug the drain if we do that. Many people want someone to keep drunk drivers off the road, and few seem willing to drive down to the bars and offer the free rides which would otherwise solve that issue.

police & protestors

hail olympians i speak not from your midst, though i wish it were so, to wander about your mountains and rainforest, to live as freely as you do, with life all about you. you have chosen to live a life apart, and there are many among you you have formed their own opinions of government and politics vs. the lives you wish to lead. you stand on both sides of the table, and yet it is that same table of freedom, liberty, and independence. consider now, what benefit a federalized police force has to your community, mine in the large city, or anyone anywhere in this country. it seems no matter where you turn the local police do the bidding of the federal government in opposition to the wishes of local citizens. why? a fool's bargain in return for hidden contracts, covenants unknown, to observe, infiltrate, and report on citizens everywhere who would speak their mind, and take action against totalitarianism. we applaued those who risk their lives to defend freedom and liberty, who protest the invasion of our lives by big government seeking its own way against the will of the people. they are far more brave than any of us who bring pen to hand. we salute them, and ask citizens everywhere to consider the plight in which liberty now stands, and what they might do personally to save their country from those who believe it is a commodity to be bought and sold, their sordid commerce enforced by impoverished youths with no other choice.

i agree merwyn

the "founding fathers" were racist, colonial slave holders. to quote them in defense of civil disobedience doesn't work very well. here are some better quotes:

If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.  ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't.  You cannot shirk this and be a man.  To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.  ~Mark Twain

Every actual state is corrupt.  Good men must not obey laws too well.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.  If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.  ~Bishop Desmond Tutu

Which all say...

...exactly the same thing that the original quote.


When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. -C.P. Snow

Beware the terrible simplifiers.
Jacob Burckhardt

I think one of the police

I think one of the police officers in an article during the week put it best this way: civil disobedience is a choice, not a right.

I can't imagine many people having sympathy on this one. Anyone visiting The Olympian's website can watch video of the last week and come to their own conclusion as to whether or not they want to deem those protesting as victims.

And Birmingham, AL this was not.

I don't think the Founding Fathers agree with you.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. -C.P. Snow

Beware the terrible simplifiers.
Jacob Burckhardt

Do you fully agree with the

Do you fully agree with the Founding Fathers? This is also from the Declaration of Independence:

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

If they printed that Declaration word-for-word today they'd be disregarded as Racists.

It's the same old story - Everywhere I go, I get slandered, Libeled, I hear words I never heard in the bible

Red meat is NOT bad for you. Now blue-green meat, THAT'S bad for you!
Tommy Smothers

History

They WERE racists. Remember, that black slaves were 3/5ths of a person for the purposes of apportioning congressional districts and such. That does not mean that the principles they espoused have some relevance. I still suffer from patriarchal programming, but even you and I do not disagree about everything...

Abraham Lincoln...

...was a racist. Do we throw out the Emancipation Proclamation?


When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. -C.P. Snow

Beware the terrible simplifiers.
Jacob Burckhardt

Yes - we do. And we DID.

The Emancipation Proclamation did not free any slave held in the Union, it only freed slaves in the states in rebellion (in other words it had no effect outside occupied Confederate regions). It was not a guarantor of any rights after the war was over, and we saw within ten years that black men were put back into servitude, now called wage slavery, often under worse material conditions than what had gone before. It was not until a hundred years later that both armed, and civil disobedient rebellions in the US won formal political rights for black men and women for about three decades. Since then, these rights have once again eroded to the point that many people were discarded from the polls and rolls in Florida and Ohio in 2000 and 2004. And black men still have an incarceration and death penalty rate much higher than any other demographic in the country.

Drew...

...are you intent on alienating everyone? Even those who agree?


When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. -C.P. Snow

Beware the terrible simplifiers.
Jacob Burckhardt

Nice sidetrack.

If you really want to have a conversation, you have to learn to stay on topic.


When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. -C.P. Snow

Beware the terrible simplifiers.
Jacob Burckhardt

It's on the individual...

To make the decision.

You can't expect the system you're trying to fight to offer immunity and protection.

And I'm speaking in general, not specific to the United States government.

That's exactly right!

And since you can't expect the gov't to offer immunity and protection, it is not unexpected that when citizens are unhappy with that gov't, they will experience conflict while expressing that unhappiness. It seems to me like democracy is doing exactly what it's supposed to do. So, why does everyone think the sky is falling (or that this is "embarrassing")?


When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. -C.P. Snow

Beware the terrible simplifiers.
Jacob Burckhardt

frustrated panda

People like Tangpo and other liberals who are against the war really frustrate me. I feel like they commonly denounce the likes of Limbaugh, Coulter, and O'Reilly, yet use the same tactics to blast "socialism". Do you have any idea what the actual political leanings of the protesters are? Why is it OK for you to assume you know things that are really unknowable?

The sooner we recognize that any steps toward a common goal are positive steps, the better we will be. These kinds of protests create space for reformists, actually enabling them to make change, as much as they'd like to deny it, it is true. These protests are exactly what liberals need in their quest to change policy. We should work together and stop the senseless criticizing and infighting.

From Police Chief Magazine - October 2007

Interesting article.   Includes the following:

The issue of whether some form of citizen review is appropriate may have been settled from the public's viewpoint. Three-fourths of the largest cities in the United States have established some form of citizen law enforcement review.3 These actions represent a de facto public finding that the civilian oversight is an appropriate response to the problem of law enforcement malpractice.

Three fourths of the largest cities in the United States have established some form of citizen law enforcement review.  

These actions represent a de facto public finding that the civilian oversight is an appropriate response to the problem of law enforcement malpractice. 

It's time for a citizen review board in Olympia.  It's not a radical idea.  As the Police Chief Magazine article states, it's been settled from the public's viewpoint.   

 

 

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." President Dwight D. Eisenhower April 16, 1953

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." President Dwight D. Eisenhower April 16, 195