VERA's REBUFF

For more than two hours last Wednesday, a tense City Council listened to conflicting descriptions of an evening two years ago when Dora McRae, an elderly African American woman, was pulled from her van and allegedly abused by a Portland police officer. The routine traffic stop, which ended after officer Tim Musgrave put the 68-year-old grandmother in a chokehold, has re-ignited concerns that the police bureau is out of control and fails to investigate accusations of brutality.

Sitting in front of a room packed with the PSU chapter of the NAACP, council members were visibly nervous. To the cheers of the crowd, Commissioner Saltzman voted there was excessive force from the police officer. "It is unacceptable that a minor traffic violation should result with a woman on the ground," he said.

But his counterparts didn't agree. After Mayor Katz voted that there was insufficient evidence to support McRae's claim--thus sealing a 3-2 majority dismissing the complaint--70 protesters stood and turned their backs. Stunned, Katz stopped mid-sentence. She struggled through the remainder of her speech as protesters silently filed out one by one. RORY CARROLL


FREELANCE SHOPLIFTER?

Tre Arrow, Portland's notorious "freelance" activist, was arrested again last week. This time, he wasn't sitting on a ledge protesting timber cuts or wrapping his body with cellophane in objection to genetically modified foods. On March 13, Arrow was arrested for shoplifting.

According to the police report, Arrow "claimed to be at Nature's to pick up donations (unsellable foods)." The report states that Arrow walked out of the store without paying for several items. At the time, Arrow explained that he was going outside to get his money. But when he was apprehended, security found $359 in cash in his backpack.

Arrow told the Mercury a much different story. After first denying that he was arrested, Arrow finally admitted he was caught stealing, blaming the security for mistaking his "donation" pick-up for shoplifting. Though Nature's declined to comment, Arrow claims Nature's is "working something out," and he won't be punished. According to police record, however, Arrow has a court date April 5th at 9 am at SE Community Court. KATIA DUNN