Last summer, two off-duty Portland police officers were allegedly attacked after celebrating a birthday at the downtown Greek Cuisina. Within days of the beating, the police force mounted a massive manhunt for six suspects: a group of young African American men with reputed gang affiliations.
Two of the men eluded capture and remained on the lam for the entire summer, keeping open a chapter in what several community members referred to as "a war with the African American neighborhoods." According to family members of the two fugitives, police had orders to shoot on sight. (Police dispute that information.)
Just days before Thanksgiving, one of those fugitives was captured. On Monday morning, the last of the six men accused of assaulting the officers strolled quietly with his mother into the Justice Center. "He doesn't want to be treated like an animal anymore," explained Teri Miller-Hickman, mother of Jerrin Hickman. "He just wants to get his life back."
Although Hickman maintains his innocence, three of the accused men have avoided trials by pleading guilty in exchange for lengthy probations and work-release programs.
Scheduled for jury trial in late December, Hickman would be the first to challenge the charges. PHIL BUSSE
LIFE IN FAST TRACK
At first, it seemed as if labor unions and environmentalists had once again easily defeated the so-called Fast Track bill: a federal law that hands over more authority to the President to negotiate trade agreements. (The bill has been defeated twice in the last seven years.) But in a surprisingly tight vote of 215 to 214, Fast Track passed.
Echoing protests against the WTO and GATT, labor unionists and environmentalist argue that free-trade agreements pave the way for corporations to flee to nations with standards more lax on workers and conservation.
For the past several months, local activists have petitioned and marched to the local offices of Rep. Earl Blummenauer in order to convince him to stop the bill. In the final tally, all four of Oregon's Democratic representatives voted against the Fast Track legislation. Rep. Walden, a Republican, voted in favor. PB