Looking at the recent records of arrests and jail intakes involving the Portland Police Bureau, especially during Occupy-related demonstrations, a vast majority of "crimes" the arrestees were charged with boil down to a few: "Interfering with Peace (sic) Officer [IPO]," "Disorderly Conduct," "Resisting Arrest," and occasionally "Furnishing False Information to Police." Curiously, all these charges could only occur because of police encounters. In order to manufacture such "crimes," it must be either that the police had other reasons (by ways of normal burden of suspicion) to believe that one had committed a crime, or that the police intentionally incited and caused one to commit one of these offenses.
The same tactics are frequently used outside the context of demonstrations by the Portland Police Bureau against unhoused population on a daily basis.
These victimless and police-manufactured "crimes" cost the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the State of Oregon a lot of money when local governments are struggling to make their ends meet in this economic reality, and take away valuable resources from stopping true crimes involving violence or fraud, in which actual citizens are victimized by perpetrators. This is in addition to any legal liabilities arising from claims of police brutality and civil rights violations, both in compensating the arrestees brutalized, and in fighting such allegations in courts and in lawyers' fees.
Furthermore, existence of these "tools" that the Portland Police Bureau may utilize as pretexts for arrests has a chilling effect on people's rights to assemble, speak, and express, and serves as a deterrent to political dissent, which would indeed be a violation of the Oregon constitution.
Finally, the state powers to arrest -- traditionally considered an important aspect of the state sovereignty -- is also a severe limitation and abridgment of human rights and is therefore to be used only in extreme circumstances, especially in absence of a valid arrest warrant issued by a competent court of law. Frivolous, indiscriminate, and reckless use of such powers is an affront to the values we espouse in a free, civilized society that places importance on constitutionally-limited government and respect for human rights.
As the history of the Occupy Portland and its allied actions demonstrates, and also as the annual tradition leading to the Portland Rose Festival in which the Portland Police Bureau conducts the annual pre-festival "sweeps" of transient campsites, we often question whether the primary interest of the City of Portland is to use the Police Bureau as a mercenary force for the benefits of the real estate and business elites, rather than providing a sense of safety for all Portlanders regardless of socioeconomic status, state of mental health, or political opinions.
We demand the Mayor and the City Council therefore to rein in the conducts of the Portland Police Bureau, and issue a clear guideline on warrantless and/or In Flagrante Delicto arrests that unequivocally requires that any arrest must be based on actual crimes being already committed, and that arrests for "violations" such as park rules and traffic violations that ordinarily are never a matter of arrests will not be permissible under any circumstance.
Furthermore, we demand that the City of Portland immediately suspend all enforcement of (and thereby de facto decriminalizing) "Interfering with Peace Officer [IPO]," "Disorderly Conduct," "Resisting Arrest," and occasionally "Furnishing False Information to Police," as these are vaguely defined to the extreme, and are only used as tools of convenience for the police to make arrests when no other legitimate charges could possibly stick up in the court.
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