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The Moment When the Police Lost the Occupy Portland Narrative | Blogtown, PDX - 0 views

    Well, it turned. The police bureau is starting to crack after six weeks of Occupy Portland. And one picture, right here, crystallizes the precise moment when it happened.

    During a choreographed effort to pull a few dozen protesters out of the Chase bank branch outside Pioneer Square, part of today's hundreds-strong N17 day of action, Portland police officers resorted to a decidedly more muscular show of force in a clash watched by TV cameras and rush-hour commuters earlier this evening. Suddenly all the fun-the dance parties, the union songs, the peaceful arrests earlier on the Steel Bridge and at Wells Fargo-was for naught.

    Tromping in with mounted officers, they pushed marchers who had gathered on the sidewalks along SW Yamhill into the street-forcing them to block MAX trains, something no one was doing until the heavily armored riot squad showed up-and then poked and, for the first time, pepper-sprayed the marchers. Significantly, some of the spraying came after protesters had clearly retreated to the opposite sidewalk. (In another odd shift, there also was no federal-court-required verbal PA warning that chemical munitions would be deployed-a hallmark of every other mass police action to date.)

    Meanwhile, at almost the very same moment, Police Chief Mike Reese was on TV blaming Occupy Portland for his officers' inability to respond to a rape victim for three hours today. Consider that tantamount to a declaration of war. Reese's point? Officers are tired and have been too distracted to do their main jobs: responding to actual crimes. It was an attempt to spin sentiment against the movement, which seems to be attracting adherents. Even the O today said the movement is "building momentum" and said the average age of some 34 arrestees earlier today was 50-not a bunch of young, anarchists/punks/hoodlums/hippies/road warriors etc.

    But that might come back to haunt him, judging by a wave of outrage on Twitter and elsewhere among those who noted that it
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