Speaking of Nazis…

Watch this video of police action against an anti-war protest in Portland. It clubs you over the head with the Nazi imagery interspersed with video footage taken from police cameras, which is unfortunate and unnecessary overkill: they could have left it out, and you’d still be thinking it. The most effective moments are when the television airheads all parrot the claim that the hoses and pepper spray and pellet guns and nightsticks were all applied in response to someone in the crowd “throwing a bottle”, which is already a rather lame excuse…but then you get to see the police making their plans, and it was clearly not a spontaneous reaction to crowd violence, but intentional, organized suppression of a peaceful demonstration.


  1. SmellyTerror says

    I remember a time, as a kid, when I believed the American movies and thought America was some paragon of virtue.

    Then I saw some footage of cops beating the crap out of peaceful protestors.

  2. Caledonian says

    This sort of thing has been going on for decades. If we were going to become upset and actually do something, we would have done it before.

  3. says

    it sounds like these guys got their brains chomped by the Hitler Zombie.

    Yeah, but sometimes a Nazi comparison is warranted. When you’ve got the police stomping on demonstrators and the media blithely accepting the claim that they deserved it because someone threw a bottle, you’re on the road to fascism.

  4. bsa says

    Well, you know, it could have been one of those boomerang bottles that keeps whipping around hitting cops time and time again, like in the cartoons. What were these demonstrators doing outside of their free speech zone, anyway?

  5. Hali says

    There are two reactions I had to this:
    1-upset, but realizing that we have to continue to get on the side of defending every type of free speech and democracy (so, if everyone was in the street, there would be no way to police everyone speaking up)
    2-upset to the point of not speaking up in public again.

    I definitely don’t think the latter is the way to go.

    And it’s sad that I would even have the former reaction…we shouldn’t all have to have the same reaction to be treated with respect as a democratically organized group of people.

    but, this is our era, and I think we have to all stand up and speak against such ostensibly fascist state control.

    The time is present to be upset about this. Our police state is getting worse by the day, and I mention this the day after digitized fingerprints are suggested by the head of it all as a means to “protect” borders.

  6. says

    There are always some who are attracted to police work because they really want the jackboots & a license to kick ass and abuse people. When society is fearful it seems that license gets broadened beyond the poor and disenfranchised, who are always vulnerable, to anyone who ‘steps out of line…’ (Between the much exagerated treatment– both by politicians and the media– of crime and of terrorism, how could the U.S. not be fearful today?) The rule of law is always part illusion– but it’s frightening to see the illusion begin to fade and the boundaries begin to slip. What’s next? State-sponsored disappearances? Death squads and extra-judicial executions? There’s always someone who’ll step up to do the job. When the courts and society don’t insist that police show restraint and respect the rights of others, things are truly getting dangerous out there.

  7. bfish says

    When I glanced at this post with my blurry, just-woke-up eyes, I thought it said this happened in Poland. “Glad I don’t live there,” I thought. Then I reread it and saw it happened in Portland, in the good ole USA. Nice.

  8. schmidt says

    This is a very frightening video. As you can see, all of the police are willing to follow orders -just following orders. No thoughts about the legality of what they were doing, or that they should have put down the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and spat on them before beginning.

  9. Roman Werpachowski says

    When I glanced at this post with my blurry, just-woke-up eyes, I thought it said this happened in Poland.

    Our police behaves better.

  10. cm says

    The narrator’s voice and certainty is incredibly grating, and the interpretation of events appeals to emotions without any useful understanding of how to reasonably interpret the footage.

    Such useful analysis might include addressing issues such as: How common is this videotaping in the U.S. Other countries? What is generally the official line on why it is done and what it is used for? What was the Portland Police’s official line on why it was done/used for on this occcasion? How long has the U.S. been recording the activities or information of “radicals”? Who has so far been harmed by having their image or information recorded, and in what way? How is 2006 U.S. different from 1939 Germany?

  11. says

    Yeah videos of unnecessary, unprovoked police violence are always fun.
    Did you see the video from last August in Pittsburgh, when an officer used a taser on an already arrested woman?
    I wonder what happened to the bald guy….

  12. says

    Unfortunately, this kind of thing has been going on for years, with the silent complicity of the media. I’d also recommend the documentary The Miami Model, which can be accessed online, as a view of our emerging militarized police state.

    Plus, under the guise of the “War on Terror”, we already have state-sponsored disappearances, and it’s already been employed against American citizens like Jose Padilla. All that is needed is to expand the scope, and the groundwork is being laid for that by calling the Earth Liberation Front terrorists (whatever one thinks about their ideas, I don’t think it would be hard to accept that burning an SUV is not an act likely to terrorize anyone).

    Likewise, my home town of Lawrence, KS has been called “the hub of terrorist activity in the Midwest” by an army official at nearby Ft. Riley. It seems to me a matter of when, not if, they put rhetoric like that into practice and ‘detain’ us in the “War on Terror”.

  13. says

    Speaking as a local, and responding to the comments about the importance of speaking out, and the implication that everyone was content to let the Portland Police behave that way:

    That protest was four years ago, under a new police chief who was fresh from the LAPD and very much into the notion of police as para-military keepers of order. The outcry afterwards was enormous, and Kroeker (the chief) was under pressure from the mayor, the media, and the populace to not let police response to a protest get out of hand again.

    Kroeker spent that next year and more trying to prove to the city that he could still be trusted to run the police force. The public and media, for its part, scrutinized police response to each subsequent protest and whether or not we thought Kroeker was doing an acceptable job. And yes, while the city was never particularly easy with having Kroeker at the helm after that, Kroeker did respond to public outcry, he overhauled officer training and direction, and there wasn’t a second incident to match the first.

    And now Kroeker is gone, and we haven’t had similar problems with his home-grown, non-LAPD successors.

    That isn’t to say we have a perfect police force now, or that we still aren’t hashing out what is too much when. Because we are. But I wouldn’t be scared to go to a protest downtown, either.

  14. dkew says

    It’s a powerful little film, since it’s mostly footage by the police themselves. However, I find the slacker voiceover quite annoying, and the Nazi comparison unjustified. A little historical perspective would show that American police and militia have been suppressing peaceful demonstrations violently since at least the rise of the labor movement in the 1800s.

  15. Dustin says

    Yeah, the voiceover was deadpan and smug. She almost sounded happy about it all. I don’t think the Nazi comparisons were at all justified, either, when that looked more like the way student protests go down in South America and South Asia.

  16. Dustin says

    Oh, never mind. Our people weren’t throwing anything, and the cops still went nuts on them. I think we’ve got our own thing going here, actually.

  17. says

    Yeah, the voiceover was deadpan and smug. She almost sounded happy about it all.

    Well of course. Protests that go without incident get maybe a photo of some people holding placards with a caption: “5,000 students protest downtown”. If people get pepper sprayed or clubbed, or better yet get taken down to the police station for disorderly conduct, well, you can bet on *days* of coverage of the protest, and lots of interviews with protest leaders. Press coverage is what protests are all about after all.

  18. says

    Frankly, I wouldn’t trust the producers of the documentary. I’d like to see the raw footage.

    What were the protestors doing before the police charged?

    Were they ordered to disperse?

    If ordered to disperse, were they?

    What else was going on during the melee?

    We’ve had a number of (officially) anti-war protests down here. Not once have things gotten out of hand. Mostly because the local police have a zero tolerance policy for shenanigans, and everybody knows it. You can speak your mind alright, but you can’t let rocks and bottles do your talking for you.

  19. Sid Dahl says

    Bravo for the last comment. This video is ridiculous, and a clear ploy at manipulating its viewers. Considering the sheeplike responses of many on this board with no indication of critical thinking, looks like it worked!