Copwatch Watches Cops at May Day Event

Three members of Portland Copwatch, attired in their new green vests, participated in the May Day rally and march. Participants were gathered in the South Park Blocks prior to the march, where Officer Jeff Myers (#39608) was busy making notations in a notebook.

In apparent violation of ORS 181.575, which prohibits collecting information on people's political affiliations, Officer Paul Ware (#37137), accompanied by Officer Aaron Cole (#46360) were videotaping the crowd.* Portland Copwatch members were given the usual excuses that officers were "just following orders" and that the taping was being done for training and liability purposes. Two hours later, both officers were back at the South Park Blocks and Officer Ware was taping away. It was reported that Officers McMurray (#24747) and Cushman (#39609) were also videotaping the participants in the event. A bicycle officer (Hughes) appeared to be wearing a light on top of his helmet--in reality, it was a video camera. Hughes stated that he only turned his camera on when suspected criminal activity arose, unlike Officer Ware, who appeared to be taping everything.

Prior to the march, two men were fighting in the area of SW Salmon and Park. PCW observed the Vancouver (WA) Mounted Patrol using a horse to force one of the men up against a wall while Portland Police arrested him. Other horses backed the second man into a building's entryway; the police took his information and he was let go. One of the officers, VPD Officer Hurt, had her name taped to the back of her helmet. She also wore a bizarre martial arts stick that looked like an elongated baton crossed with a sword.

Chief Sizer and Assistant Chief Berg were present throughout, as was Assistant City Attorney Dave Woboril. During the march, Berg would go into the crowd and give out stickers to the children. As the march proceeded, eight to ten mounted patrol officers were massed in a highly visible parking lot, and the Rapid Response Team stood in a line at the foot of the Morrison Bridge, wielding four- foot batons. Also present were a few Sheriff's deputies, Wackenhut (hired regularly by Tri-Met as security), and the VPD's Civil Disturbance Team.

When participants returned to the South Park Blocks, PCW observed four officers, including Officer Nola Watts (#45768), surrounding and questioning a young, small woman. Eventually the officers allowed her to leave without incident.

All in all, police were slightly more restrained that usual--no cops we saw visibly entered the march or harmed anyone. Unfortunately, they continued to "monitor" the protestors dressed in black and used massive presence to intimidate a peaceful crowd of many races and political beliefs.

*All the officers (except Hughes) who were videotaping are listed in the Bureau's roster as "criminalists"


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