What began as a routine response to a noise complaint last Thursday spun out of control when a scuffle erupted between cops and guests at a house party in Northeast Portland. In the aftermath, both sides--the party's hosts and the cops--are pointing fingers at each other. And, on Monday, three party-goers were charged with felony riot, and one with kidnapping a police officer--a crime that carries a possible eight-plus years in prison.
With Prince blaring in the background, 43 officers (a near one-to-one ratio with party-goers) proceeded to quell the party with a barrage of pepper spray, night sticks, and barking K-9s. Three officers arrived at the scene; but, by night's end, more than 20 cars had blocked off three blocks in the Alberta-area neighborhood.
What led to the scuffle remains in question. One guest claims the responding officer Sgt. Fort began to eye one of her friends, Michael Ray. Fort questioned him about a pair of utility knives attached to his belt; in response, Ray simply smiled.
Party-goers claim that Sgt. Fort, unsatisfied with Ray's answer, physically attacked him, allegedly shouting, "I'll kill you right now; I can do that; don't doubt me." In defense of their friend, witnesses claim that party-goers cleared from the house onto the porch and tried to pull the officer off their friend.
The police, not surprisingly, have a different version of events. John Wrigley, a police spokesperson, claims that Fort was surrounded on the porch and dragged into the house where guests allegedly beat Fort, injuring his finger and shoulder. With an officer under attack, police claim they called in some 20 back-up vehicles. JOSH WOODARD
End of the OlCC?
If the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) manages to survive a current legislative bill hell-bent on its destruction (Senate Bill 909), it will have to face a pair of voter initiatives also wanting to put the bureau six feet under. Eric Winters, Vice-Chair of the Oregon Libertarian Party, plans to file two initiatives soon. Either would effectively dismantle the OLCC's basic economic foundation. Depending SB 909's outcome, which similarly calls for the OLCC's abolition, Winters "may or may not" gather signatures for the initiatives. The bill will be heard in the Senate in the next few weeks. KATIA DUNN