American society has long used over-policing as a way to violently control Black, Brown and poor communities and to generate state income from poverty. Gentrification displaces and breaks up communities and utilizes both police and private security to enforce this displacement. As houselessness becomes endemic we see the results of our city’s clumsy attempts to use policing to combat the issues associated with capitalism’s largest failure.
52% of Portland Police Bureau arrests in 2017 were of unhoused people. The vast majority of these arrests were for criminalized behavior associated with drug use, mental illness, or merely survival behaviors implemented by those living outside.
“Unwanted Person” calls to the Portland Police have risen 67% in the past year and comprise a large percentage of emergency and non emergency calls.
As reports of police collusion with White Nationalist groups rock Portland, we see developing movements to keep police out of our schools and other public spaces. High school and college students are vocally objecting to militarized police on their campuses. Unhoused people and their advocates are working to establish community-led response teams trained to provide assistance and resources to those who would otherwise be further threatened and traumatized by unnecessary police interactions.
Check in with folks from Portland Assembly and chat about the ways that policing threatens our communities and our autonomy and how we can reclaim both.
52% of PPB arrests are of unhoused people: https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2018/06/portland_homeless_accounted_fo.html
67% Increase in PPB calls about “Unwanted People”: https://www.wweek.com/news/2019/02/06/portlanders-call-911-to-report-unwanted-people-more-than-any-other-reason-we-listened-in/
No SRO Portland Student movement to fight police placement in schools: https://www.oregonlive.com/education/2019/01/while-portland-school-board-reconsiders-police-contract-students-want-a-voice.html
DISARM PSU fights to end use of armed officers on PSU’s Campus: https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2019/02/28/26052365/rep-hernandez-files-bill-to-disarm-cops-on-psu-and-uo-campuses
CAHOOTS Program in Eugene: https://kval.com/news/local/cahoots-gains-national-attention-for-their-work-in-eugene-and-springfield