As Alex Z. mentioned briefly in her post debunking reports that poop was overflowing unchecked from Occupy Portland's portable toilets, the Portland Police Bureau today for the first time decided not to selectively filter which reported incidents it will share with reporters.
They're called "public safety updates"—but that might be stretching the idea. It's essentially a continuously updated log of observations kept by sergeants on one shift and then shared with their counterparts on the next shift. Some are pretty picayune. Many were reports of disturbances that never were substantiated (and usually wouldn't be shared unless someone, maybe, specifically asked). And some were tangentially connected to Occupy, at best.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Robert King denied that the logs were a stealth attempt to lay the groundwork for ousting the camps on safety grounds. Instead, he blamed the media—especially TV and radio reporters. For asking him every day. All day. For precisely this kind of distracting soundbite fodder.
"If I wasn't getting the requests," he says, "I wouldn't be giving this information out every day. We're not tying the release of information to any long-term strategy."
Occupy Portland has noticed. Earlier today, spokesman Jordan LeDoux told me he thought the cops were being "immature, but also that he didn't think an ouster was imminent. "They're just keeping their options open."
Later, Occupy sent out an open letter—appealing directly to reporters to stop amping up coverage of one-off incidents and safety concerns, and to start reporting on the camp's relationship with the homeless population, the mentally ill, and others, in context.
Update 3:50 PM: An earlier version of this post included the full text of the open letter—because I read right over the set-up that said it wasn't meant to be a public statement. The text has since been removed.
Read the police update after the jump.
Here's the cops' update. You decide if all this is worth sharing or not:
OCCUPY PORTLAND PUBLIC SAFETY UPDATES
Posted: October 25th, 2011 11:40 AM
The following series of events involving Occupy Portland occurred on Monday, October 24, 2011 and early morning Tuesday, October 25, 2011:
7 a.m.: Central Precinct officers received a request from Occupy Portland to get in touch with Project Respond. The volunteers at Occupy Portland report they are getting overwhelmed with the amount of mental health issues presenting themselves at the camp and want to establish a liaison with Project Respond to help in dealing with these problems as they occur. Officer Miller of the Mobile Crisis Unit is the liaison.
10:30 a.m.: East Precinct officers were leaving the Multnomah County Courthouse when a woman, 39-year-old Angela Hallinger, threw a paintbrush at the officers because they would not stop and look at her art. The paintbrush hit one of the officer's pants and left paint on them. The subject then picked up the paintbrush and threw it again at them, just missing their heads. Officers were told that a Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney had reported that a woman was flashing her breasts at people. It was determined that it had been Hallinger, and she was arrested and booked in the Multnomah County Detention Center for Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree and Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree.
During the same incident, officers found that the porta-potties on the south side of Chapman Square along Southwest Madison Street were overflowing and it appeared raw sewage was running down the sidewalk toward Southwest 3rd Avenue. The sanitary conditions were reported to the Parks Bureau who said they were aware of issue.
3 p.m.: Officers received a report that Hallinger was out of jail and flashing her breasts again at the camp. She was excluded from the parks.
On Monday's afternoon shift, there were multiple calls of various fights/disturbances. Officers said there appeared to be a different call every 45 minutes or so, called in by witnesses to these incidents. Several were unverified, with no complainants or suspects located. The following were reported incidents:
6:35 p.m.: A very intoxicated/high subject was contacted at the corner of Southwest 3rd avenue and Main Street. It appeared that 25-year-old Dylan K. Hunter, was acting in a confusing manner and was on probation for Delivery of a Controlled Substance/ Methamphetamine. He was given a citation and transported to Hooper Detox.
6:45 p.m.: A sergeant took a phone call from a "donor" of two food boxes to Occupy and he wanted to complain that when they dropped off the food, he and his friend saw "buckets of human waste" sitting around the camp. This was very disturbing to the donor and his friend.
7:56 p.m.: Uniform officers responded to a call of a man causing a disturbance near the medical tent of "Camp A" (Lownsdale park). He was reportedly throwing things and knocking down fences. He was wandering around the Veterans Memorial, which is located in the center of the park.
Officers observed 35-year-old Devn Merner acting in a bizarre manner. He had red paint on his feet and torso. Occupy Portland peacekeepers were trying to talk to him while he displayed "fighting poses," but he refused their contact. Officers requested Project Respond to assist with this contact.
Merner turned his attention to officers and advanced toward them. Merner began to circle the officers both rapidly and at a very close distance, and eventually stopped in front of one of the officers, grabbing the arm of the officer's jacket. This placed the officer in a potentially dangerous situation, with a subject grabbing on his arm and within reach of being struck or his weapon grabbed. At this point, officers took custody of Merner and he was lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center on Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest and Harassment.
9:30 p.m.: Officers responded to a call regarding "5 subjects beating another subject," in the center of Chapman Square, by the drinking fountain. Officers could not find any victim or suspect and overheard people say everyone "ran off." Within a minute or two, district officers received another call of a fight at 3rd Avenue and Yamhill, similar to the one from the park. It appeared related, with the suspects chasing the victim through the blocks. As officers arrived, they were told by witnesses that the group was chasing the victim down Southwest 4th Avenue toward Burnside Street. It was reported as many as "15 street kids with skateboards" were chasing a shirtless subject.
A total of 3 separate calls from different locations were generated about this incident. The victim was reportedly hiding out in a camp on West Burnside, at 4th Avenue. The victim was ultimately located at Northwest 4th Avenue at Couch. The victim, 19-year-old male, said he was assaulted in Chapman Square by a group of street kids, after he had a verbal altercation about a dispute a friend of his had earlier in the day with the group.
The victim reported he was jumped from behind by a group of bandana-masked subjects, and repeatedly punched in the face and head. He said Occupy Portland peacekeepers came over to him suggested he "run away," since they could do nothing to stop the assault. The victim reported he was chased to 4th Avenue and Burnside, where two of the masked subjects continued to assault him. He said others in the area assisted him, and the suspects ran off. The victim was injured in the face, and said he thought about calling the police, but decided not to, since the residents of Occupy Portland are supposed to take care of these matters themselves.
11:59 p.m: A known subject, walked into Central Precinct to report an "assault." He reported someone had pointed a finger at him, and that was the assault. He made several alleged assault reports during this event. The subject returned 10 minutes later to report a "riot" at Occupy Portland. There was no riot in progress. The subject was told to leave, but initially refused. He was escorted from Central Precinct lobby, given an trespass order, and told if he returns again to make an erroneous report he may be arrested.
October 25, 2011, 4:56 a.m.: a resident of Occupy Portland called 911 to report a man inside the encampment who had punched someone and broken a bottle. Officers spoke with the victim of the punch and learned the suspect had fled after the incident. The victim did not require medical attention. Witnesses believe the suspect does not live in the encampment and was possibly intoxicated.