IN 1986, Rupert Murdoch built and secretly equipped a new headquarters and printing press for his London newspapers in Wapping—part of Docklands, East London. Murdoch moved production there to break a strike by the unions on his major papers, including The Times, The Sun, and News of the World.
Needless to say, the unions did not go quietly. Those printers and journalists crossing the picket line at Wapping were subjected to threats and violence, prompting Margaret Thatcher's government to step in and provide 24-hour police protection in what became known as "The Battle of Wapping."
More than 400 police officers were injured and more than 1,000 arrests were made during the dispute. With around 6,000 workers going over a year without jobs or pay, the strike eventually collapsed in February 1987.
Point being: Wapping was a protest. And...
"This is hardly Wapping," said Officer James Powell of Central Precinct, when I saw him on Monday night in the middle of the so-called anarchists, who were celebrating—I'm sorry, protesting—the latest officer-involved shooting.
Powell, like me, is an Englishman. Also like me, it seems he's refreshingly cynical when it comes to Portlanders' tendency to view themselves as at the center of the known universe on any number of issues. Like, for example, police reform.
I understand why people are angry about Jack Collins' death last week, especially following so hot on the heels of the shooting of Aaron Campbell in January. And yes, I'm a huge advocate for police reform, too. But these half-assed riots don't scare anyone: eight arrests and a stone thrown through the window of the Bank of America building? That's the best you can do?
Either muscle up the gumption to stage a proper protest, "anarchists," or drop the pretense—and the pit bulls—and throw your energy into a forum where it's actually needed: Join the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Police Reform on Facebook. Or call Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman and push him to stand tough on drug testing for cops in the ongoing police union contract negotiations.
Instead, your farcical efforts at intimidation will provide much-needed public relations fodder for the Portland Police Association to claim that those advocating for police reform are simply mindless thugs who deserve a good Tasering. Congratulations! You have probably set the cause of police reform in Portland back a good two years.