Police Brutality Against Occupy Portland
In an unconfirmed report, Occupy Oregon tweets:
ALERT! A man named Justin James Bridges, musician & ASL translator for Occupy Portland General Assembly, was assaulted by @PortlandPolice today during camp clean out.
He was beaten repeatedly in the back and has now lost use of his right arm. Though Justin was lying on the ground in compliance, Portland Police continuously beat him in the back with clubs until his eyes rolled back in his head. Fellow protesters thought he was dead. He is now in critical care.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION, ESPECIALLY PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE, DO NOT HESITATE TO COME FORWARD.
National Lawyers’ Guild # 503-902-5340. Protect rights, protect the truth.
Occupy Portland notes:
After a conversation with Justin, over the phone, one occupier reports that our ASL [American sign language] interpreter (and groovy guitarist) has no feeling in his right leg and cannot use his arm, which allows Occupy Portland interpret for those in our community who communicate by signing.
Reports state that Bridges is the guy who goes down at around 34 seconds into the following video:
And Bridges appears to be the guy dragged away by police at 8:40 in this video:
One man was taken away on a stretcher; he was alert and talking to paramedics, and raised a peace sign to fellow protesters, who responded with cheers.”
Daily Kos posts the following related tweets:
- “According to reports from the hospital, Justin James Bridges was beaten repeatedly with clubs by @PortlandPolice, has lost use of right arm.”
- “I was with [Justin James Bridges] and saw him dragged away by the foot by @PortlandPolice as he was screaming in agony!”
- “Call @PortlandPolice Internal Affairs @ 503-823-0236 & request an investigation into excessive force used in the arrest of Justin Bridges.”
Update: The Portland Mercury reports:
I just got off the phone with protester Justin James Bridges, who is currently in Legacy Emanuel hospital sustaining some injuries during the eviction of Occupy Portland yesterday. We don’t have the police officer’s side of this story, yet, but if Bridges does pursue legal action—as he says he will—that story will come out.
Bridges … was interpreting for the deaf during yesterday’s assembly in Chapman Park during the eviction when the police began pushing hold-outs out of the park. “The cops came in and started pushing people and destroying things,” says Bridges. “I turned around and told everyone that was standing by watching to get their video tapes out because they were violating our rights and we have to protect our rights. When I turned back around, I got caught in the crowd and my back got pushed up against a concrete trash can and I fell on to the ground.” Another photo of the interaction is here.
“The police grabbed me by my legs and pulled me through the mud,” says Bridges. “They started saying I was resisting arrest and started beating me. They tried to pick me up and I couldn’t feel my legs, they were screaming at me because I couldn’t walk.” When officers grabbed ahold of his bandana, Bridges continues, he began to choke and told officers he couldn’t breathe. “One of the cops laughed and said, ‘You can still breathe because you can talk.’” Bridges says he passed out and was not arrested, but instead taken to the hospital. “I was beat, they took away my first amendment right to peacefully assemble. They didn’t even charge me or arrest me. “
The police dispute Bridges’ version of events.
Here’s an interview of Bridges in the hospital: