When four of the suspected New Year's Eve rioters showed up at the Multnomah County Courthouse for their hearings in late January, they received a surprise from the police: handcuffs and felony charges. Piled onto their original misdemeanor charges was rioting--potentially carrying five years in prison.
During the riot, police handed out misdemeanor tickets to alleged rioters for disturbing the peace. A few days later, in response to lobbying from Mayor Katz for harsher penalties, Police Chief Mark Kroeker formed a task force to comb through video footage to drum up additional incriminating evidence. Moral of the story: If you're going to riot, at least avoid the cameras. JOSH WOODARD
To say that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has a poor working relationship with liquor store owners is an understatement. Last year, three OLCC agents (liquor store owners are required to become agents) filed lawsuits against the oversight agency; four others are poised and ready. It's a virtual mutiny.
Even so, the victories against the OLCC are slow and small. Such was the case when, last week, Robert Larry, owner of King Liquors, scored a minor--but hard fought--victory by forcing the OLCC to rescind their accusation that he was looking the other way while bottles of booze were passed from legitimate buyers to minors outside his store.
Larry's fight began last July when an OLCC inspector made the accusation in an internal agency memo. Larry believes that his race and location were the primary factors leading to the false accusation. "Being a black OLCC agent in Northeast is much different than being in any other part of town," Larry explained. "People make assumptions about you."
For months, Larry pestered the OLCC to pull the false memo from his file; but he received essentially no response. Vindication finally came last week when he was granted a face to face meeting meeting with Pam Erickson, the director of the OLCC, and Linda Ignowski, the Regulatory Program Director. In the meeting, Erickson offered a weak apology that "perhaps the situation could have been handled better." KATIA DUNN