At about 2:20 AM, some 75 or so people are still here at Shemanski Square, eating pizza after the Portland Police Bureau abruptly called off an imminent raid more than two hours ago for a pizza party of their own. The police, meanwhile, have sent out their summation of the night, reporting some 19 arrests—including one occupier who carried a Christmas tree onto the roof of city hall.
There is talk on the ground of still holding the park for two weeks as planned, and a couple of tents have gone back up, with people sleeping in them ("mic check if the police come," said one fellow). But I wonder if the cops are waiting, just like on the day of the Chapman and Lownsdale eviction, to move in when the numbers fall and the feeling of a victory fades a bit.
More importantly, there's talk of what came off by all accounts as a swifter and far more aggressive approach by the tactical officers who showed up to clear the park half an hour before its scheduled 9 PM closing. Another photo, just like the iconic shot of the woman pepper-sprayed in the face on ovember 17, has gone national—this time, it's the Oregonian's picture of a bloodied 15 year old boy. And rumors also spread of a 7-year-old boy being handled roughly by police. Police, in fact, in their release, addressed those claims by denying that any kids had contact with police, despite reports from a handful of witnesses. Occupiers also shot photos of a man, reportedly with broken ribs, being worked on in an ambulance.
My laptop battery is dying, so I've pasted the cops' statement after the cut.
One point: The alleged confrontation that the cops say forced an "emergency" closure of the park wasn't actually that chaotic as I saw it. But any time protesters surround officers, it has to be unnerving. Another occupier said Sergeant Jeff Niiya told her the emergency was also because police wanted to clear out the parks before audiences at the Schnitz emerged to see riot lines.
On Saturday December 4, 2011, Portland Police officers along with Portland Parks and Recreation personnel responded to the South Park Blocks Shumansky Square after reports of demonstrators setting up structures in what appeared to be an attempt take over the park. Information from several websites and social media in the days leading up to today indicated that demonstrators planned to march to a park and remain there for up to two weeks. No permits were filed for the march and no police presence was necessary, until demonstrators blocked Southwest Broadway and began to block TriMet traffic.
Demostrators then moved to Shumansky Square and some began setting up structures. At approximately 7:30 p.m., parks employees and police went into the park to enforce park rules against structures and were met with hostility and aggressive behavior, making it unsafe for park rules to be enforced at that time. Normal park hours are from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. but due to the unsafe conditions and aggressive behavior by some demonstrators, the parks were ordered closed early.
By order of Portland Parks & Recreation and the Director, the South Park Blocks closed just prior to 8:30 p.m. and the Portland Police Bureau gave clear instructions to demonstrators that the park was closed and advised people in the park to leave the area. Many left the park without incident, however a number of people remained and were defiant with police. Officers noted during the clearing of the park that there were some children, ages ranging from approximately 8 to 12, near the front line of the demonstration. Officers advised to the parents to get the children out of the park but in one case, a small child was pushed to the front by an adult in apparent attempt to use the child as a human shield. There are no reports that any children were injured or had police contact and they ultimately left the park with adults.
After the park was cleared, the Portland Parks Bureau cleared out all the remaining debris and took it to a holding center.
Anyone who left items in the park after the emergency closure may claim those items by calling (503) 823-1600 during normal business hours.
Officers walking the area after the park closure located a cluster of spent shell casings on the east sidewalk of Southwest Park Avenue, along the back side of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The shell casings appeared to be .22 caliber and 9mm (photos attached). There were no reports of gunfire and it is unclear why they were on the sidewalk in an area that demonstrators had been standing. In an earlier demonstration (different date), officers reported that someone in the crowd threw empty .223 shell casings at the police officers. It is not clear why or who is bringing empty shell casings to a demonstration.
After the park was clear, demonstrators marched in the street, disrupting vehicular traffic, to Portland City Hall (where one man climbed up onto the 2nd story roof and set up a tent), then throughout the Downtown core, finally returning to Shumansky Square. No arrests were made along the march but it was monitored by dozens of police officers to keep traffic moving and reduce the chances of incidents between drivers and demonstrators. The Police Bureau will continue to monitor the small demonstration at Shumansky Square and people remaining in the park after hours could be subject to arrest.
Those arrested for Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree and Interfering with a Police Officer include:
34-year-old Keller Henry*
25-year-old Christina Marine Doyle
33-year-old Tara Dannett Parrish, aka Tara Farsovitch, aka Tara Colvin
22-year-old Katharine Marine Sharkey
47-year-old Ronda Jami Harrison-Rodgers
20-year-old Carsen Jean Harrison-Bower*
25-year-old Jakc Davis
60-year-old Philip Green
21-year-old Jordan Levi Benning*
56-year-old James Douglas Gless
32-year-old Justin Alexander Kertson
23-year-old Mitchell Drinkwater
23-year-old Todd Andrew Herman
18-year-old Zane Matthew Greening
22-year-old Jeffrey Scott Hamilton
18-year-old Clifford Lawayne Collins*
A 17-year-old male
46-year-old Michael Earl Withey was charged with Harassment.
40-year-old Troy Anthony Thompson* was charged with Criminal Mischief II and Criminal Trespass II for climbing onto City Hall roof.
Those persons with an asterisk by their name were booked into the Multnomah County Jail. All others were given citations to appear in court and released.