Ibrahim Mubarak, a Right 2 Dream Too co-founder, was arrested last night and booked into the main jail after he and a group of advocates reportedly confronted police officers who'd been cracking down on some of the homeless folks who'd been gathering in recent weeks beneath the Burnside Bridge.
Mubarak—booked under his
legal birth name, Keith Jackson—faces one count of interfering with a peace officer, a class A misdemeanor, and one count of trespassing.
Interfering with a peace officer is the same charge, ironically, that police and prosecutors are using to target nuisance crimes among the homeless, as the Mercury first reported. Because of the Mercury's reporting, the DA's office yesterday acknowledged that police had mistakenly been applying the program to sidewalk violations. A memo telling police of the mistake also went out yesterday.
News of Mubarak's arrest spread on Facebook through advocacy group Right 2 Survive. Trillium Shannon, a Right 2 Dream Too board member, posted that Mubarak and others had gone to the Burnside Bridge after hearing a steady drip of reports about police and private guards rousting the groups that had gathered under the bridge at night.
Update 7:30 AM: Here's a link to video showing Mubarak's arrest and what led to it. It shows private security guards taking pictures of people, for recordkeeping, saying they're working "for the city" as well as the University of Oregon. It shows an officer asking Mubarak for his name and then invoking the university's property rights by ordering everyone off the lot and onto the sidewalks. Mubarak was headed to the sidewalk, but slowly, and asking the officer to ask him nicely. And that's when she had enough—and he was put into handcuffs and taken to a police car. Someone at the end says "Call Amanda Fritz."
Yes, this confrontation occurred in the lot near the MAX tracks. But I also ride down along the waterfront every morning and night. And groups of homeless people have been gathering there, beneath the bridge, for weeks with their belongings—blankets, sleeping bags, packs, and sometimes shopping carts, only to thin out in recent days amid a noticeably stepped-up police presence.
The arrest comes more than a week after Right 2 Dream Too, the homeless rest area at NW 4th and Burnside, won the right to spend $846,000 on a new location as part of a complicated land deal approved by city council. The group had agreed to drop a lawsuit over the city challenging code fines and move to the Pearl, but developers in the Pearl fought that agreement. It's their money that will finance Right 2 Dream Too's move somewhere else. Willamette Week was first to publish a preliminary list of more than 20 potential locations turned up by a city-paid real estate broker.
Mubarak was released from jail overnight and is due in court at 2 pm.