High School Student Pepper Sprayed at Budget Cuts Protest: "It was the Most Painful Thing I've Ever Experienced."

Comments

1
"It was a totally peaceful protest! We were just using the wooden banners as plows to try and force the police out of the way. Peacefully!"
2
Is there a link to the police video, somewhere? I know you said it's "on today," but...
4
These fucking cops show up with heavy artillery, body armor, zero identification, using military tactics....but those wooden shields man, look out!
5
Steiner is right. Shouldn't the police have taken into consideration that she's a student? You don't just pepper-spray a student merely because they're trying to shove over a team of police officers. Why, I push police officers around all the time without any consequence! I'll be walking down the sidewalk and intentionally walk right up to one and I'm all, "Outta the way, pig! Whose sidewalk? My sidewalk!" And they always just apologize to me. Because they suspect I might be a student.
6
Did you really, honestly think the cops would just magically melt away from you. I think you got off lucky. Try this in China, for instance. They use tanks not bicycles. And why not get a permit? Dumbasses. IMO
7
The police are using a protestor's video FYI but the more important point is that Sarah's description of the glacial pace of the advance is far more accurate that the drivel about "struggle" and "violence" the PPB posted today.

They also falsely asserted (again) that they've been contacting us for weeks. We've demanded they produce the communications and they've just called us liars.
8
Did the police (or anyone else for that matter) know that she was a student and that the issue was budget cuts? I'm guessing she was standing shoulder to shoulder with older non-students who had other lists of grievances.

Portland protests are pretty incomprehensible these days in terms of exactly who is protesting what.
9
That video doesn't make me feel bad for the protesters. The point of building banners out of heavy wood with hands holds is obviously to push them into police lines.

There is plenty in this world to protest, but these things, just like Occupy Portland in the end, are about kids looking for a rush by inciting confrontations with local police and maybe breaking some windows. They aren't about larger issues.

It does show how ineffective bikes are for the cops when push comes to shove. They were just piled up all over the place, under foot.
10
Oh I'm sorry. Were there some windows broken that I'm not aware of? Or would you like to go find one first?
11
taken from the police press release:

"...The march continued northbound on 9th Avenue then turned eastbound on Halsey Street, with police officers facilitating the movement of the march.

As the march moved eastbound on Halsey, demonstrators brought out additional ramming devices/shields and moved them to the front of the march.

When the march reached Northeast 14th Avenue, the marchers turned northbound in a coordinated movement to directly confront a line of police officers. The officers were there to restrict a northbound turn on 14th as police did not want the demonstration march to get to Northeast Weidler and/or Broadway, which had much more vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The demonstrators had a clear path to march eastbound on Halsey Street..."
-----------------

whether the pace was glacial or not, these people chose to advance against a police line -- right or wrong, what the fuck did you think was going to happen?

have a little foresight. pick your battles.
12
It takes a lot of chutzpah, or maybe just a heaping load of cognitive dissonance, to stand on the side of pepper spraying high school girls. To me, it's one of those things that is measurably, objectively evil.
13
To all you fucking idiots who blindly cheer on violence being used against non-violent protesters, just keep in mind that someday you will be protesting, too.

All of this is a precedent for the violence that will be used against you.

Here’s a news story for you, Mercury:

Who opened up on the crowd with the pepper spray?

None other than the infamous Sgt. Kyle Nice.
http://media.portland.indymedia.org/images…

The same guy who pulled his gun during a traffic dispute turned road-rage. The same guy who beat to death a homeless man. The same guy who has cost this city millions upon millions of dollars.

Surprise!

(does anyone else feel like another law suit against the city from 20 different people?)
14
I like how the protester in the photo is pretending he was crucified...
15
I think if I were, even as a high school student, pushing my way through a line of cops who are telling me to stop, by physically shoving a big ass board into their bodies, that getting pepper sprayed would not be a huge surprise to me.

The protest march chose to deviate onto a side street where the cops presence was obvious. They did this in order to bring about the precise type of confrontation that took place. And if they got some naive 16-year-olds hurt, that's on the leaders of the march as much as the cops, because this is exactly what they wanted.
16
SO VIOLENT PROTESTERS GOT PEPPER-SPRAYED? I'M NOT REALLY SURE WHERE THE PROBLEM IS IN THIS SITUATION.
17
I err on the side of trying not to beat, shoot, gas, or unnecessarily jail people who aren't really threatening anyone, even if they're disobeying police orders. I don't mean to be facile, but this sort of thing takes on a creepy authoritarian, even crypto-Fascist vibe, when clearly non-threatening people -- elderly and children, for instance -- are on the receiving end of police violence and others get really excited, smug, and even enthusiastic about it.
18
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygXbs2pr_ow&feature=plcp
19
until protesters start bludgeoning the skulls of these waste-of-time/space/money cops... I just can't bring myself to care about either side
20
"slowly walking into a line of police bikes"

slowly walking into a line of police officers.

FTFY
21
I was one of the high school students there who were pepper sprayed along the front lines of the march. We were shoulder to shoulder with other high school students and college students. Cops kill young people like myself, must we recall Aaron Campbell or the young girl shot point blank with a bean bag gun a few years ago. Considering these are trained killers with guns, chemical weapons and batons, some plywood reinforced with foam insulation isn't a threat, it'd be really intrested to see your living room wall blind you for thirty minutes, burn your skin or kill you. We are fucking little kids in comparison to these people, we are youth who have been disenfranchised by a wave of budget cuts we have been riding our entire lives and we have been sold time and again by false promises from democrats and republicans. Enough is enough. There seems to be plenty of money for new training centers for police and enough money for them afford plenty of pepper spray, but when it comes to keeping schools opened and basic textbooks the pocketbooks are empty. This is austerity at work.
22
Just ignore the critics, Paul Wells. They'll always shit on you.

Be happy knowing that you did the right thing, as these people sat on their ass and complained.

You're a better man than any of these jerks.
23
Sounds like if you're going to take up such a fight, you should be ready for some bumps and bruises, Paul. Have the courage of your convictions.

Again, this is what (at least some of) the protesters wanted. Again and again these protests and marches in Portland have come down to some part of the group wanting a physical confrontation with police. I'm guessing that this makes them feel vital and gives a rush, and makes them feel like they are involved in important things.

If on Saturday, the cops cleared the path on 14th and let the marchers go down and gum up Broadway, this core group of confrontation junkies wouldn't have been satisfied, and would have found a way to further escalate things. Perhaps by attacking some banks or something. Remember, the eventual battle with cops is the whole point. It's a feature, not a bug.
24
Paul, why does the fact that you're in high school matter one bit? Who cares? If you were 35 and doing the same thing at the protest, you would've received the same reaction. So please spare us this "we are fucking little kids" nonsense. (Also, really, check your phrasing there, son. Try a little editing.)

Anyhow, you want in on a secret? It's people like you that justify the police budgets you decry. You know how much police overtime I'm personally responsible for in the past month? Not a whole lot! And the evidence suggests there's a strong correlation with my tendency to not charge police officers with wooden barricades.

In short, people like you and police officers are made for each other. You both enjoy the fights, and you both justify the others' existence.
25
"Some plywood reinforced with foam insulation isn't a threat, it'd be really intrested to see your living room wall blind you for thirty minutes"

Son, my living room wall doesn't try to push me over or try to steal my bicycle.
26
This is the problem with so-called "anarchism." It mistakes police confrontation for organizing and real disruption and symbolism. Lunch counters were the site of direct injustice. Marching into cops on purpose is just a gesture. The cops themselves, freaky as they tend to be, are not the problem we face.
27
@blabby & @todd - You guys are pieces of shit.

@Blabby - if it was the intent of the protesters to create a conflict with the police, do you really think this is the tactic they would adopt? These were shields, not swords or batons.

@Todd - You're a joke. Do something with your life besides bashing teenagers on internet news articles. This child was brutalized while fighting for their future - meanwhile you jerked off on Saturday, didn’t you? This is why Paul, as a teenager, is a better man than you will ever be.
28
@Blabby - if it was the intent of the protesters to create a conflict with the police, do you really think this is the tactic they would adopt? These were shields, not swords or batons.

@Todd - You're a joke. Do something with your life besides bashing teenagers on internet news articles. This child was brutalized while fighting for their future - meanwhile you jerked off on Saturday, didn’t you? This is why Paul, as a teenager, is a better man than you will ever be.
29
I'm pretty sure forcing someone to move more than four feet against their will is legally considered kidnapping. It is not a peaceful protest if you are taking physical actioin against the police first (shoving them out of the way). Less than four feet, still considered assault if the contact is unwelcome. I agree with the protest in general, but feel the protestors were out of line in pushing the police out of the way.
30
Paul Wells, thanks so much for coming by to share your experience and your take on how austerity is affecting this country. What you guys did took a lot of courage and it was great seeing you and the other students come out to march on Saturday. What the cops did to you was an appalling abuse of their power and attempting to march down one street as compared to another in no way warranted what they did. I hope it helps to know that there are many people in this community who have got your back.

To all the folks here who are endorsing the actions of the Portland Police, and especially those saying that the age of the students who were brutalized is not relevant, I have to wonder how you find it in you to be so callous. We as a society consider the acts of minors differently than the acts of adults and for good reason. Do you think you would try to excuse this if someone had inflicted this kind of pain on your teenaged child for any reason? The police have been repeatedly brutalizing Occupy protesters for a year now and it shouldn't be too hard to understand why people might want to try and shield themselves from that kind of treatment with things like reinforced banners. I saw what happened from a close distance, and I can tell you that the police used an extremely violent approach, literally dousing people with pepper spray, as a first resort on Saturday. All in the name of not directing traffic for a few minutes. By obstructing the intersection they provoked the confrontation. They made no attempt to explain their reasoning for obstructing that intersection to the protesters and work out a solution through constructive dialogue as far as I've heard, and they apparently did not warn protesters that pepper spray would be deployed, either of which could well have averted actual violence. Instead, the police chose to create a chaotic environment in what had been an orderly and peaceful march, making the environment less safe for those who had been marching peacefully and safely, including small children. We have to demand better of the people on the Portland Police force. They are supposed to be public servants.
31
@HATLESSPETE: IF YOU'RE OLD ENOUGH TO ASSAULT A POLICE OFFICER, YOU'RE OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE POLICE OFFICERS DEFEND THEMSELVES AGAINST YOUR ASSAULT.
32
"It was the most painful thing I've ever experienced" - a high schooler that got dumped two weeks before prom
33
That video is just a bunch of people attacking police officers! Hell yes you deserved to get pepper sprayed. How the hell is that going to improve the budget or the mortgage crisis or whatever hell else you're complaining about?
34
fidelity, it wasn't their intent to have a sword fight with the police. It was the intent to push and shove a little bit and get pepper sprayed and then go home and tell war stories about it in an attempt to get laid.

They know they can't win the confrontation with police, but they can portray themselves as heroic victims who were "right in the middle of it, man".
35
Hey Graham, I never said I was holding onto one of the banners, or that I was high school student, but way to make uninformed assumptions. As an adult I evaluate the actions of teenagers differently than those of adults and so do our laws. Even if you think what these kids did was wrong, do you really want to live in a society where kids get brutalized for making a mistake? I saw what happened from about fifteen feet away, and what I saw was a wildly disproportionate act of violence on the part of the police, who were in no real danger of serious harm themselves.
36
Fidelity, you offered me some sage advice: "Do something with your life besides bashing teenagers on internet news articles."

Fair enough. Which do you think is more worthwhile? Should I bash middle-aged guys in the comments on a news article? Or should I bash the cops over on IndyMedia?

Which will make me more of a hero in your eyes? I need to know.
37
And, honestly people, how many times are you going to ask us to disbelieve our lying eyes? If you're attempting to shove police officers out of the way with your wooden barricade (complete with Kung-Fu Battle Grips), then your actions aren't "orderly and peaceful". This isn't rocket science.

"I just don't get it, guys. One minute, there I was, pushing over officers with my homemade shield. The next, they got mad for some reason. Why? I love peace! Maybe I'll just go pull some honey from this beehi... Ow! Why are you stinging me, bees? I was just shoving my hand into the place where you live! Can't we all get alo...Ow!"
38
If the ACLU isn't on your side you're kinda screwed.

http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/know-your-…
39
JustinPDX, you are quite correct that by the letter of the law, permits are required for marching in the street. Although I thoroughly disagree with the need for a permit beyond the Constitution, that is the letter of the law. However, the police's enforcement of that law was far from admirable. The cops made no effort to prevent the march from moving into the streets or even to tell those demonstrators who may not have been aware that the march was unpermitted that it was. In other words, the cops were behaving, up to the point at which they used the pepper spray, as they would at permitted march. That is until they abruptly blocked an intersection and provoked a confrontation with marchers, who up until that point had been thoroughly peaceful. The police did not respond to this march in a consistent or humane fashion and this violence was the result.
40
Can someone tell me why it matters if a cop pepper sprays a high school student breaking the law like this? And how is a cop supposed to know if a person is in high school in the first place?

Cop struggling with a protester holding a wooden battering ram:

"Excuse me, are you in high school? I need to know before I pepper you."

There was a 15 year old who just fired bullets into a innocent person's home in North Portland the other day. I was in a high school one time, and so have all of you. Stop being naive, these aren't little children, and in fact some people I went to high school with were dangerous human beings.

You blocked a street and got some pepper. Wipe your tears off and get over yourselves.

This country is filled with a bunch of pussies these days.

"Whaaaah, I got peppered because I blocked a street!"
41
Permits are not needed in the city of Portland for a march that doesn't request police services. Under 75 people they won't even take a permit. Above 75 if you require police services, you can get a permit that lays out the route. The cost of that permit is free, but it requires cooperating with the police for the escort. They didn't need to have a police presence so the permit wasn't needed. The cops, however, in their counter-protest, are required to get a permit when they want to protest a protest, as they are using city resources, specifically police services. It would be nice for the protest to receive a copy of the counter-protest by the police so they know the route the police are going to take when they block the streets so they can try to avoid them.