Dave Lucero, 25, says he was in the downtown library on SW 10th and Salmon at 4pm on Saturday, on the third floor in the art & music section. He was listening to a monologue by Dave Chapelle on a public computer with his headset on. "He was really funny," says Lucero. "I know my laugh, and even though I had the headset on, it wasn't particularly loud, and nobody around me seemed to notice."
"I made eye contact with the librarian, and I noticed that she glared at me for about three minutes. And I had a cough as well, and she came over, and she got my attention, and she told me I couldn't be coughing and laughing so loud, or she'd have to call security. And eventually I coughed again, and she said 'that's it, I'm calling security,' and so the sheriff came over and tapped me on the shoulder, and I left."
But as Lucero was leaving, he did a little salute, and said, "Heil Hitler. Fuck You, You Nazi." Lucero admits he was being "kind of an asshole," but that he felt the librarian was being kind of an asshole, too. When Lucero said that, the 300lb Multnomah County Sheriff started running after Lucero, unbuckled his gun, and charged at him, he alleges.
"I put my hands up in the air, and said please don't hurt me," and the sheriff allegedly told Lucero, "You can't say that to a library employee." And Lucero told him, "I've got my first amendment rights. I can be a dick if I want to."
Lucero said he was leaving the building, and the sheriff's deputy came after him, calling for backup. The sheriff's deputies looked at his id, and wrote out a citation, which they didn't hand him. They told him he was excluded from the library, saying "you're not supposed to be here, you're not supposed to be outside the library, or anywhere around the perimeter, or any other library in Multnomah County."
The sheriff's deputies told Lucero the exclusion lasts for a week.
"I feel like they're a bunch of Blue Meanies," says Lucero, who despite his reference to the Beatles, denies looking or acting like a hippie, although he did used to have a long beard and long hair, he admits.
"I look like I just came out of prison or police training academy," he says. "I've got a really close-shaved beard, and clean crisp khaki shorts, and I looked like I was maybe on leave from the army or something. I just felt like it was a really extreme reaction, just for laughing. It was just a sad state of affairs. What kind of society do we live in when laughter is responded to with police and guns?"
"It's part of the terms and conditions of being a library member," says Travis Gullberg, spokesman for the sheriff's office. "When you join the system you agree to behave in a certain way, and the sheriff's deputies have to have ways of managing library behavior."
UPDATE July 15: Gullberg says the Facility Security Officers act according to the Multnomah County rules. He thought we were talking about the Law libraries in prisons. Multnomah County's library system runs the library-we'll check with the library security people.