Portland Police Fired on Children on August 4
(Content Warning: This article contains sensitive subjects, such as discussions of neo-Nazis and hurled slurs)
Well, I got shot at on Saturday by cops guarding an “alt-right/neo-Nazi/fascist protest in my city. This was not fun. You might want some more background to this, so uh, let me explain…
A bunch of white conservative redneck Trump supporters came down from Washington (to support a guy running for something in Washington, apparently, which means they had no real reason to be in Portland) and from Idaho (where the KKK are living), and who knows where else to Portland and had a “rally”. “Hate Parade,” as I put it. They came in, got a permit for the park by the waterfront (a park maintained with tax money that Portlanders had paid) in order to be able to bring in guns. Because someone in Portland allowed out-of-state racists to rent our park and bring in concealed weapons.
The people across the street waved flags (American, Confederate, Nazi, yellow with snake), screamed about cleansing the nation and making leftists afraid, generally threatened the people on our side of the street. They could do whatever they wanted because the police were all facing us. They also walked around with signs demanding the unmasking of antifa (even though many of them had American flag masks on. Irony to the max, guys. Irony to the max) and held up signs like this:
In response, a crap-ton of Portlanders (my family and myself included) said “Hell no” and came to a counter protest with our own signs. We outnumbered the fascists by four -to-one. We were able to stand safely behind the antifa, knowing they would keep us safe if the guys across the street (and it was almost all guys) decided to rush us. Let me be clear, the antifa were young and old, men and women, and disabled people, including an amazingly kind woman in a wheelchair just like my uncle’s. Diversity is beautiful.
My mom’s personal favorite sign is this one…
Oh, and you know what else was fun? The cops there (because they were obviously gonna be there) weren’t guarding the Portlanders. They were in a line, FACING the Portlanders. Glaring at us. Refusing to engage (except for the one guy who couldn’t stop from tapping his toe to “We will rock you” despite wielding batons).
The Nazis walked south, and so did we. Along the way we saw a few trucks, with speakers playing dorky music and guys in antifa masks dancing like the balloon advertisements outside car rental shops.
It was ridiculous, and also a good tactic. The music was loud and fun, it lightened the mood for a bunch of the Portlanders, and also made it hard for the cops to stay mad at us. :D
Some of us though, were less than happy about this whole thing, especially as we were blocked coming down Columbia, and decided to start yelling at both cops and the Nazis. The yelling started when the cops said the Portlanders had weapons. But wait, who had guns? At worst, we had sticks holding signs and some ‘rocks.’ We’ll talk about the rocks in a second. A chant broke out of “ACAB, All Cops Are Bastards.” Considering what was about to happen…
At about 3, at the corner of Columbia and Naito, the cops were giving orders that we couldn’t hear (apparently for us to disperse) and so my mom had our group go up to the top of the hill, where she could hear better, and use her sign language to interpret the cops’ orders to those who couldn’t hear it. After the first video didn’t work, I reminded her that Facebook live was a thing. She’s old.
The Portlanders who weren’t in a goofy mood, decided to get madder, and yell back. Allegedly, someone threw a rock at the cops, but you can see from the video of my mom that no rock was thrown. I mean, if there was a rock, y’all got body cams, right? We got footage of your grenades, show us your damn rock. You can also see all the footage from the amazing Unicorn Riot. The armored bacon didn’t like that we knew better. So, they shot multiple flashbang grenades, and tear gas, into the crowd. For an alleged rock. Remember, the cops were all in more armor than Star Wars stormtroopers. Except their armor isn’t crap, and they probably could shoot straight.
Remember that video my mom was making in ASL? I was holding the camera, and you can see them start to fire the flashbangs. You’ll notice that there are no rocks being thrown (until after the cops fire). We had to start moving really fast after that, and it was very, very scary. Because, well, I’m pretty brave, but I’m only 12, and this was only twenty five feet from me.
They were deafening. People were running away, and a Black lady crouched on the ground was hugging her dog. I, myself tripped over a bush as I was running, following my parents, and someone in all black with a mask pulled me up, asked “You okay?” and shooed me along. That’s real antifa, guys.
Then, they chased the crowd seven blocks away, bringing trucks full of reinforcements the whole time. They pepper sprayed people (using really strong stuff, according to this video) and injured a dude really badly. How? The flashbang went THROUGH his helmet. Because COPS! Yay!
We stopped for some water, and then we got moving again. After that, there wasn’t much except for us going back to the waterfront and yelling insults at the cops since the Nazis were still there and their permit for the park had expired. This didn’t mean that they left, and when I asked the cop closest to me about it, he told me to get back on the sidewalk.
I’m 12, I’m Latina, I’m Queer, and I’ve got some challenges. I’ve always known that the cops weren’t on my side. What I hadn’t realized, until Saturday was that it wasn’t just that they were predisposed to treat others better, but that my safety didn’t matter. The cops, Portland cops who were supposed to protect and serve people like me who live in the city who were peacefully protesting the arrival of guys yelling that “mixed breeds didn’t belong here”…the cops were going to take the side of that guy over me.
Because what do I matter, right? I’m just a kid.