The Eye of the Storm - part1
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Uploaded on Feb 17, 2009
Eye of the Storm uses video footage shot by the police to confirm how the police target citizens engaged in constitutionally protected acts of protest for harassment, assault, and arrest. The police, by their own admission, assault law-abiding protesters without provocation then lie about being provoked. These lies were carried and repeated ad-nauseum by the corporate media without any regard for the truth. The corporate media is shown being complicit, even supportive, of flagrant police misconduct. Those perceived as "leaders" by the police are often singled out for surveillance, assault, and arrest regardless of the fact that those individuals have broken no laws and committed no crimes. The police kept this footage despite laws prohibiting the collection of information on individuals engaged in political dissent. The police stated that activist video footage only told one "side" of the story, now everyone can see the other "side".
In partnership with a network of activists across the city, the pdx indy video collective has procured a stash of police surveillance footage which will be released to the public at the end of this month in a new video, edited by Cat, entitled, "Eye of the Storm." The backbone of this expose is a cache of secret video tapes shot by "Portland's finest" as they rampaged through the streets in defense of the Empire.
This footage throws new light on what really happened on A22, and what really happened during the anti-war protests of 2003. If you will recall, during all of those incidents, Portland video activists caught police visciously attacking crowds of peaceful demonstrators for no apparent reason. You may also recall Sgt. Brian Schmautz, Portland's smug, bulldog-faced, fact-spinning PIO telling citizens (via the corporate media, of course) that the activist video footage meant nothing because "their video only
tells one side of the story." He claimed that activist cameras were biased, and that their perspective was suspect because "it doesn't show what precipitated [the events in the footage]." (See Li2U News on the video page to hear him repeat this laughable
What Mr. Schmautz did not tell people then, and does not want people to know now, is that the police had their own cameras whirring away at the time of these assaults, and that their perspective is at least as damning as that of the activist videographers. This footage, (much of it released for the first time), will show that the police did, indeed, savagely attack people without provocation, and that they then lied about that to the people of this city. It will also underline in red the complicity and lies of the corporate media, who told us that the police riots were caused by activists, and that victims provoked police clubs and pepper spray "when someone threw a bottle."
On A22, you will likely recall, the police assaulted us with chemical weapons, with clubs, and with projectiles fired at the crowd at close range. They actually pepper sprayed babies. (See a22 on the video page, as well as http://portland.indymedia.org/en/acti..., for further details.) On March 25, they dragged peace activist Bill Ellis off the sidewalk and savagely beat him, then dragged him away to jail. They claimed it was because he was "jaywalking." In reality, as you will see in their own footage, they did it because they thought he was "a leader" among anti-war protestors, because they wanted to intimidate him, and most ominously, they did it because they wanted to gather information about who he was. (Again, see Li2u News on the video page for more details.) In spite of hours of video footage shot by activists detailing these assaults, the police and the corporate media maintained that the police officers' behavior at the time was reasonable and that the cameras of activists could not be believed. What do you suppose they will have to say about this footage, that they shot themselves?
Aside from proving, once and for all, that the police riots of 2002 and 2003 were unjustifiable, this footage has other, very dark, implications. Because in the course of their surveillance, the officers' cameras show a scary pattern of intentionally zooming in on people's faces, blatantly gathering personal information about people who are committing no crimes but are merely expressing political dissent. Given recent revelations about the corporate police state's willingness to spy on peaceful, law abiding citizens,(not to mention the fact that the US govt is openly willing to incarcerate political opponents without due process of law, and to torture those in their custody), this footage should make you shudder. Because if you've ever participated in a demonstration in Portland, you'll be startled to learn just how much information they have been gathering about you. Are you in their sights? Come to the show and see if you can spot yourself. (I did.) You will never look down the chasm of officer Jones' lens in the same way again.
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