by Mungen Cakes and Big Jon
The Oregonian article “Occupy Portland Cases Crowding Court System” by Kate Mather, (March 15, 2012) illuminates a disturbing lack of continuity between actions of the District Attorney and the Portland Police Bureau. Occupy Portland defendants are being charged with misdemeanor offenses, such as interfering with a police officer, criminal trespass or disorderly conduct.
Deputy District Attorney Jeff Howes is quoted in the article as saying, “This type of activity, while it clearly violates the law, it’s just the type that my office believes is worthy of violation treatment rather than criminal treatment.” Yet, during their arrests these same suspects are subjected to demeaning and injurious treatment by armed and armor-clad cops. How does this make sense? Our citizens are being accused of minor violations (similar in severity to a parking ticket), and the police are beating, tackling, pepper spraying, ‘cuffing, transporting, strip searching and detaining them? That amounts to non-judicial punishment, and it is commonly occurring here.
If an arrest is made, the defendant has a right to their day in court to face their accusers on the charges for which they were originally arrested. The Portland Police Bureau, and any supplementary forces they deploy, need to be instructed by their employers (i.e. “We the People”) to discontinue their transparent attempts to hijack our legal process.
There’s an ever widening gulf between the reality of our (mis)treatment at the hands of peace officers and the eventuality of any possible charges. Don’t abuse, arrest, detain, and process citizens who are then accused in court of trivial, “minor violations.” This is tantamount to false arrest, from which our government is supposed to protect us. Keep it real.