FROM THE ARCHIVES: Police Raid Punk House Party in 2001

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Tue, 06/04/2019 - 5:30pm to 6:00pm



Totality of Circumstances is off this week. Instead, we have a special treat, recently digitized from the KBOO Archives: an hour-long episode of CIRCLE-A RADIO from 2001 featuring the story of a police raid on a punk show after-party at a private residence in a mostly pre-gentrification Alberta neighborhood. It was produced by Erin Yanke, currently KBOO's Program Director, and features the voices of people who were present and caught up in the raid and its aftermath.

The political milieu in March 2001, especially when it came to the Portland police, was deeply fraught. The raid was conducted under the aegis of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), with party attendees saying that it seemed like there were fifty police cars in a five-block closed area. Police said they believed the party was an after-party for a planning meeting of what they called "eco-terrorists," particularly the Earth Liberation Front, or ELF, which had been responsible for numerous arson and sabotage attacks in the region and whose actual press office would be the subject of a raid later that spring. The Bureau was also embroiled in a scandal stemming from sexist harassment during training for the city's SERT team, the "elite" squad that still exists today as the city's version of SWAT. Soon after the raid, Portland Police officers Jeffrey Bell and Chris Davis would fatally shoot an epileptic Mexican national, Jose Mejia Poot, in a Southeast Portland psychiatric facility, sparking protests. This period of police controversy faded drastically for a while the day after the people arrested and falsely accused in the March house party raid were acquitted--on September 10, 2001.

Regular dry old Totality of Circumstances will be returning Tuesday, June 18, at 5:30pm with a report on the status conference before Judge Michael Simon, who is the only obstacle standing in the way of Mayor Wheeler getting his Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing (PCCEP) approved as being in compliance with the city's Settlement Agreement with the US Department of Justice. The Settlement was agreed to by both parties after the DOJ found the city's police demonstrated a "pattern or practice" of using excessive force against people with real or perceived mental illness.


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