Tuck in your napkin for an Occupy Portland news smorgasbord: I've got a bunch of small updates on the Facebook booking photo flap, Michael Moore, police handling of the arrestees at Jamison, and also the apparent expansion to Terry Schrunk Plaza.
1. Briefly, from Occupy's press team:
Michael Moore has confirmed that he will arrive at Occupy Portland at 4:30 PM. He will be dropped off at an undisclosed location, tour the camp, then there will be a rally at 4:45 at Terry Schrunk Plaza. More information as it becomes available.
2. Mayor Sam Adams' office told me again today that the arrests Saturday haven't budged the mayor's support. But his spokeswoman reaffirmed that even mere sit-ins wouldn't be allowed after hours in other parks, should occupiers consider another demonstration, or many, across town.
3. And then there's this very hilarious account of what it was like for the brave few occupiers who fled the nighttime bustle of the main camps at Chapman and Lownsdale squares and, instead, pitched their tents across SW Madison in Terry Schrunk Plaza, home of the movement's general assembly meetings. (No luck yet reaching anyone in the federal bureaucracy who can answer the question: will they get to stay?)
Early this morning, just before 1am, an autonomous group of individuals who had been camping with Occupy Portland relocated to Terry Schrunk Plaza—the home of Occupy Portland's General Assembly. These members, understanding both that they do not represent Occupy Portland with their move and that the risk of federal action against their move, assembled four tents on the grassy terraces of the amphitheater peacefully.
In response, the Portland Police Bureau approached these campers to inform them that they were trespassing of federal land outside of city jurisdiction, and that it is their duty to call Federal Police—Officers of the Department of Homeland Security. After three in the morning, the Police Lieutenant made a call to federal authorities who were then dispatched to the park at the southwest corner Third and Madison.
There, two officers confronted these rogue campers and an observer from Occupy Portland to officially warn them that their actions are in violation of Federal Law and that their actions are being closely monitored. Furthermore, Homeland Security warned that federal regulations (in regard to drug and alcohol use, especially) are more strict than those of the city, that the actions of these campers would require a permit, and that these individuals must be accountable for their actions.
No arrest or or citations were made. Ten National Bank Transfer Day fliers were well received by officers of Homeland Security, a police commander, lieutenant, 3 sergeant, and 3 police officers by the livestream cameraman (calling himself Professor P) observing and documenting from the Occupy Camp. At this time, the tents remain on park grounds and the officials seem interested in banking with credit unions.
4. The Portland Police Bureau has added a statement explaining its Facebook policy. The upshot, they say? The photos are public record and they regularly publish news releases, and accompanying booking photos, on the bureau's Facebook page.
The Portland Police Bureau has received a lot of questions about why arrest photos are posted on Facebook. This is not a new procedure. The Police Bureau receives daily requests for arrest information from the public as well as the media. Many of these cases are of high public interest and as such, information is distributed widely through news releases, the Portland Police Bureau webpage, YouTube..., Twitter, and Facebook.
This information is all a public record. In Multnomah County, for example, all adults booked into jail have their photos placed on a public website (http://www.mcso.us/). What is listed includes their name, age, height, weight, and charges, among other things.
The Portland Police Bureau is using social media extensively to engage the community and to present direct, unfiltered information to the public.
When there are arrests in cases of a significant public or media interest, the Portland Police Bureau will post factual information and photos as part of our efforts to be continually transparent.
5. As for allegations by some of the 27 arrested at Jamison Square that they were mistreated either during the arrests or while in custody, police spokesman Sergeant Pete Simpson told me he hadn't seen any reports of injuries, but that he would check with officers at Central Precinct.
Simpson also offered an explanation for why many of the officers in Jamison, but not all, were in riot gear Saturday night, unlike during the Main Street standoff when only uniformed officers were deployed:
"The environment Saturday night seemed to have escalated, in the chanting and the numbers of the people who wanted to assist in protecting the people in the group who volunteered to be arrested," he said, saying there was "verbal violence" against officers by some in the crowd (which there was—but there also was way more cleverness and gentleness in the demonstrators' entreaties). Without the noise, and without the numbers, he said, the response might have been different.
"I watched the live footage from KATU," Simpson said. "I saw a lot of creative writing about what happened."
And, something I think is important to note, Simpson also acknowledged that some of the people whipping up the crowd, shouting and bellowing, were actually just Occupy Portland detractors hungrily clamoring for a crackdown of the kind Portland might have seen under a different police chief in a different era.
"Everybody's learned form that and learned patience," he says.