How many Portland police officers does it take to beat up a 71-year-old blind woman? Last summer, two officers attempted to restrain Eunice Crowder after she tried to stop a city official from taking several items from her front yard. Citing a build-up of trash, a city official arrived at Crowder's home in North Portland and began to throw away debris. The city official handed the elderly woman a warrant, but when Crowder, who is blind, asked him to read it to her, the official refused. Crowder then tried to find out whether the official had taken a beloved family heirloom, a century-old red toy wagon. Claiming the senior citizen was being unruly, the city official called 9-1-1.
When police arrived, they tried to restrain the woman. At one point, an officer struck the woman so hard that her fake eye popped out. Crowder called out to her 94-year-old mom for help before the officers pepper-sprayed and shot her three times with a taser gun.
Last week, with no apologies and no admittance of fault, the city paid out $145,000 to Crowder. PB
get up and sue!
In the first real legal challenge to the city's sit-lie rule, last week the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center slammed the city with a lawsuit. Under the policy, police may hustle along--or arrest--any person they believe is blocking a public sidewalk. Civil rights attorneys believe the rule is mainly directed at the homeless and activists.
The lawsuit claims the sit-lie rule does not specify exactly what constitutes a violation. "It allows police officers to make ad hoc decision," reads the legal briefs filed last week. "What is the normal flow of pedestrian traffic and who is to determine this?" The city is expected to respond within the month. PB
sad or noble?
Still attempting to win his one and only state, Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic hopeful for the presidential campaign, will once again visit Portland. While Kucinich has largely faded to a footnote in the 2004 elections, he has emerged as a celebrity in Oregon. On Saturday, the pint-sized candidate will sit in as a judge for a vegan chocolate chip cookie contest at Food Fight Grocery, 4179 SE Division, 1 pm. PB