I take it back
The other day I suggested that the nighttime protests in Portland were becoming pointless, and that the cops ought to be given the green light to use more force.
After last night, I see how wrong that sentiment was. The protesters, although still annoying in the extreme, are showing some signs of knowing what they're doing. And the police are behaving so very badly, they deserve no encouragement.
Last night's incidents took place, in part, at police union headquarters on North Lombard Street. That is exactly the right place for protests. If you want police accountability in the Rose City, the police union contract is the crucial document. That's where, decade after decade, the City Council has rolled over for the union and made civilian review of police brutality and murder impossible. If there is a bad guy in the picture, it's the police union. There should be demonstrators there day and night, as far as I'm concerned. Bravo to the protesters for striking where it counts.
On the other side, the cops are acting like they're fighting the Nazis in World War II. Take a look at the video in this tweet. Tear gas (which they were ordered by a federal judge not to use), phalanxes of heavily armed riot police, the rockets' red glare, all of it. We don't need it. The police should know better. No matter how obnoxious the demonstrators are.
Then take a look at the video in this tweet, as some poor older guy gets maced in the face while being pushed around. After he hits the ground (that elbow's gotta hurt today), it looks like the goon with the mace is about to give him another shot while he's being pinned. Then the cops chase the person recording the whole sorry episode. Again, totally unnecessary.
But this is quintessential Portland police behavior. They have, as the Oregonian editorial board once put it, a mean streak.
It's also more than a little interesting how hot the police response was when the kids were out in front of the police association office, compared with other nights when they have been trashing public property and defacing Black-owned businesses. Today the union is bragging about how little damage was done to their house:
The cops don't want to admit it, but they're in a p.r. war, and they're losing. I hope they got their jollies off last night. All that overtime pay they're racking up probably tastes pretty good, too. But at some point, the reckoning is coming.
Meanwhile, where's Mayor Wheeler, the police commissioner? He's got some 'splainin' to do, I think.