What do we want? COMPLAINT FORMS!

Portland's Independent Police Review (IPR) is more popular than ever.

The wing of the Portland Auditor's Office has never seen an influx of pleas for investigation like it got this afternoon, when dozens of protestors flooded the ground floor of city hall. They came because of Saturday night, and what they say were Portland cops' troubling tactics for cracking down on mostly-peaceful demonstrators. Those tactics involved cops using flash grenades, prodding demonstrators with the broad side of their batons, and surrounding people in a "kettle" near the Hawthorne Bridge.

In all, IPR received more than 20 complaints over Saturday's events. And in a week filled with confrontation (demonstrators also drew a heavy police presence on Tuesday and Wednesday) Severe's office has only heard complaints about Saturday, he says.

One guy, filling out a form in the city hall atrium this afternoon, said cops' tactics amounted to
"psychological torture." Some on scene claimed they were targeted for arrest as members of the "alternative media," and there was a sense that cops had given protestors deeply conflicting signals: they ordered people into the street so they could be more-easily arrested, but then only arrested people who abided by those orders and stayed in the street, one arrestee said.

Teressa Raiford, a sometimes-candidate for public office who's been a leading voice in these rallies, urged demonstrators to call out Mayor Charlie Hales specifically (Hales is Portland's police commissioner). Meanwhile, Hales spokesperson Dana Haynes handed out pens to demonstrators looking to fill out complaints. More than 20 people have done so, according to IPR. (Demonstrators filled out formal complaints with the NAACP, as well.)


The IPR will investigate each complaint, Severe says. He says the office had no staffers out on Saturday, as it did at an earlier protest, but cops and protestors both film these confrontations, meaning ready access to potential evidence.

While everyone was filing complaints on City Hall's ground floor, a smaller movement began two floors up. Michael Meo—a former math teacher, current police critic, and another sometimes-candidate for office—was sitting in the ante-chamber to Hales' office, quietly waiting to be arrested.

Meo says he'll sit until city hall closes this evening and simply refuse to leave. Once in jail, he'll refuse to eat. And if they let him go, he'll get peaceably arrested again, still starving. He figures he can survive 40 days on water alone.

Michael Meo says he wont eat until the mayor enacts serious police reform.
  • Dirk VanderHart
  • Michael Meo says he won't eat until the mayor enacts serious police reform.

The point? Meo says he's sick of the city spinning its wheels on federally mandated police reform. He wants Hales to follow the recommendations of the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform in that regard.

"Until then, I'm willing to die," Meo told the Mercury this afternoon. "This is a decision that has been coming for some time. Look at all the people dying on the streets of Portland."

What if Hales called him in for a meeting, we asked. Not enough, he said.

"I don't wanna talk to him, I want action," Meo said. "I'm gonna sit here starving until that happens."

As of this writing, Meo's not in custody at the jail.

Update, 5:21 pm: That didn't last long. No sooner had I hit "publish" on this post than I got an e-mail from Meo. Who is at home. Cooking spaghetti.

It's not for himself, Meo says, but for his son. And he's still committed to a hunger strike but no longer to arrest.

"I am as bound not to eat as before, but I am not entering the arrest-and-booking-in merry-go-round if I can reasonably well avoid it," he writes. "Maybe I would in other circumstances but I am not accompanied.

"Anyways, I will be drinking coffee with cream and sugar, fruit juice, and some milk (not much)."