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Activists Rap Report on Protests

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  • Clore Daniel C
    September 1, 2000 Activists rap report on protests By SCOTT MABEN The Register-Guard Eugene activists have panned a Eugene Police Department assessment of its
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2000
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      September 1, 2000

      Activists rap report on protests

      The Register-Guard

      Eugene activists have panned a Eugene Police Department
      assessment of its response to political demonstrations
      between mid-April and mid-June.

      Members of the Eugene Active Existence, Anarchist Action
      Collective, Independent Police Review Project and Copwatch
      criticized the police report Thursday afternoon outside the
      Lane County Courthouse.

      The groups disagreed with many of Police Chief Jim Hill's
      conclusions in an Aug. 18 report on what activists dubbed
      the Seven-Week Revolt, which ended with dozens of protesters
      being arrested June 17 and 18. In the report, police officials
      said they saw no evidence of officer misconduct or excessive
      force, contrary to accounts from some who took part in or
      watched the protests.

      Activists said the police report was full of errors, lies and
      unanswered questions, and they characterized it as a case of
      "foxes guarding the henhouse" because the conclusions were
      based largely on a review of police videotape by the department's
      internal affairs coordinator.

      Sherry Franzen, with the Independent Police Review Project, a
      group of activists, said it's no surprise the police would
      absolve themselves of wrongdoing.

      "The concept of police policing police is a hollow one. The
      inherent bias is clear," Franzen said.

      Although none of the activists or 72 people arrested during the
      Seven-Week Revolt filed formal complaints with the police
      department or sought mediation through the city's human rights
      program, Franzen said civil lawsuits alleging excessive police
      force "are certain to be filed."

      "Knowing this, police management predictably issues a report
      denying any police misconduct," she said. Franzen also reiterated
      her group's call for "truly independent and external review of
      police conduct and policy."

      Martha Smith of Copwatch, a group that videotapes officers during
      political demonstrations, accused officials of trying to cover up
      police misconduct.

      "This report should be seen for what it is - a huge whitewash
      serving to divert our attention from, as well as justify, a quarter-
      million-dollar campaign of terror against the people of Eugene,"
      Smith said, referring to the $218,577 that police report spending
      on the protests.

      Copwatch footage shown on the weekly cable television show
      "Cascadia Alive!" in the past few months has "made public the
      brutal beating of protesters" by officers wielding their bicycles,
      she said.

      Smith also said Copwatch videos were "instrumental" in the
      acquittal last week of Erin Hauge, who was charged with disorderly
      conduct for her participation in an April 24 march supporting
      Pennsylvania death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, who activists regard
      as a political prisoner.

      Police Lt. Rick Siel, who attended the Thursday news conference,
      said the department continues to stand behind its report.

      He also said it's important that people have an opportunity to
      share their perspective, and that police will continue to encourage
      citizens who have complaints about police conduct to use the
      department's internal complaint system or the city's human rights
      mediation service.

      "We recognize that demonstrations are a healthy thing for any
      community," Siel said. "It's healthy to have dialogue, as long as
      it's legal and nonviolent."

      The activists said their detailed response to the police report is
      based on interviews with more than 80 residents. It includes a
      chronology of key events during the Seven-Week Revolt, plus five
      "damning observations" and a list of 10 police "lies" about the

      For example, activists dispute Chief Hill's assertion that there
      were no injuries requiring medical treatment during the seven-week
      period. They said at least four of those who were arrested suffered
      injuries ranging from cuts on an ankle to bruised knees as a result
      of clashes with police.

      One of those was Dan Heuston, arrested for disorderly conduct when
      he crossed a street against the light in the Abu-Jamal march.
      Heuston said police tackled him to the concrete, banging his head
      just above the right eye. The eye became swollen and required
      bandaging, he said, while he sat in jail five days.

      Heuston entered a guilty plea and said he expects to be sentenced
      this morning to 25 more days in jail. He admitted he jaywalked but
      said, "I don't think that deserves the right to be tackled by the

      Robin Terranova spoke on behalf of the Eugene Active Existence, an
      8-month-old coalition of people from Eugene's "radical activist and
      anarchist community." He said the group formed to create a
      framework for coordinating weekly forums, workshops, training,
      discussions and direct action.

      The EAE mobilized the Seven-Week Revolt to promote "revolutionary
      social and ecological change" in a more spontaneous and autonomous
      manner than traditionally employed by radical and mainstream
      activists in Eugene, he said.

      "EAE has no doubt that the lies and distortions presented in Hill's
      document will be used to justify yet more requests for funds for
      policing of activists in the future," Terranova said. "It seems
      that those in power always resort to such propagandizing, under the
      mask of `public safety,' to put a friendlier face in their
      repressive tactics."

      ON THE WEB

      Police report on Seven-Week Revolt:

      Activists' response:

      Dan Clore

      The Website of Lord We├┐rdgliffe:
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      and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in
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      &c., &c.,"
      -- The Book of Dzyan.
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