Ten OccupyPortland protesters arrested for asking why they were being arrested

Ten more Occupy Portland demonstrators were arrested yesterday at 4AM. When they asked what the charge was, they were told they had "failed to comply with a lawful direction: "'The didn’t give a Miranda warning, nor did they tell us why we were being arrested,' Former U.S. Marine Sgt. Micaiah Dutt recounted. 'They said, 'because you were being blatantly illegal, there was no need for explanation.''" (Thanks, Jordan!)


  1. Pfft… ‘Rights’.
    Bring in the drones.
    (And from now on, that is my new catchphrase, said bitterly while kicking a can)

  2. That noise you are hearing, the quiet sobbing of a grown man whilst a cash register goes crazy is the sound of whoever is in charge of the cities (or indeed states) finances once the horde of lawyers are finished abusing them.

    The finger of fate just elevated 10 people to the ” Rich enough never to work again” level.

      1. Add on the whole media circuit and I think you could push it higher. I’d also expect the lawyers involved for the defendants to play this as an untypical false arrest… what with where they were arrested.

  3. Uppity, in the first degree.

    Depraved indifference to one’s rightful place.
    Conspiracy to menace public complacency.

    These are hardened criminals we are deaing with here. I’m amazed the heroic officers of the law weren’t forced to subdue them as they violently resisted arrest.

    1. Uppity, in the first degree.

      Depraved indifference to one’s rightful place.
      Conspiracy to menace public complacency.

      I want to see a video of Sam Waterston reciting those charges.

  4. You honor, I plead the First Amendment.

    Case dismissed.

    Wrongful arrest lawsuit commences.

  5. I learned recently that the cops don’t actually need to read your Miranda rights when they arrest you; they need to do that before they interrogate you. It’s just been misrepresented by TV shows and movies (shocker, I know).  I thought that was interesting.

    1. This is true, I have seen it many other places, including the info from the NLG on “what to expect when you’re arrested”

    2. That’s true, but it also creates risk for the police. If they put you in the back of the car and say “so, what was that all about?” your subsequent confession cannot be used against you. It’s a much better police practice to read you Miranda at the time of arrest.

        1. blatant illegality, there’s your cause! (or, yes, of course I think your correct, it’s just a matter of the police knowing you can beat the charge, but not the ride)

          1. Yes, I’ve filed ‘blatant illegality’ under my daily reminder instructions of ‘things not to do today’.

            Sometimes an adequate number of connected syllables is a compelling enough reason for arrest.

            @twitter-118148619:disqus I’ve never adequately understood when the feds get involved, bar my disputable learnings from my TV educators (Scully, Mulder, Bo and Luke Duke), but it seems when they do get involved everything gets murkier and more serious.

            I enjoy imagining that old set-piece of cop flicks – ‘I have jurisdiction’ – ‘no, we’re taking over, talk to the mayor’ – ‘what you’re doing is blatantly illegal’ – ‘No, it’s our constitutional right’ – ‘eh?  Mahoney, arrest Agent Orange’ – ‘what’s the charge?’ – ‘Blatant Illegality, and he can put his Miranda Rights …’

      1. But if you spill the beans on something that could take you to court, and they didn’t read it to you, they can’t do squat about it.

        It’s very similar to if the police get a warrant to check your home for one thing, and find huge stores of drugs, in theory they cannot arrest you for it (they often might, but you can get it thrown out on technicality), nor can they get a warrant to re-search your home for drugs unless if they can prove they had reason to suspect you outside of the evidence found in the first search.

        Of course, that’s the theory, and IANAL, but the real world tends to work out … messier.

  6. The cops all around the country are being pretty harsh with the OWS’ers, but I can’t help but think that they really all ought to be on the same side. Perhaps if more of an effort were made to make the police understand that, especially as unionized workers, they should be enforcing the law as their job but joining the protesters in their off-hours, maybe they wouldn’t be so harsh.

    In the 1960’s the biggest mistake that the anti-war protesters made was to vilify the soldiers instead of just opposing the war. The soldiers weren’t the enemy. The biggest mistake the OWS’ers can make is to make an enemy of the police instead of including them in their struggle. The best sign I saw at an OWS gathering was “You are the 99%” – I think that sums it up nicely.

    1. I have seen tons of signs directed at the cops saying “you are the 99%”, “join us”, “they want your pensions too” etc. 

    2. “ought to be on the same side” and “actually are on the same side” are a far cry from one another.  As long as the cops are actively and violently propping up the status quo, they are not on the side of the OWS folks, regardless of what their socioeconomic status might imply.  To think otherwise defies logic.

      1. To think otherwise defies logic

        defies YOUR logic.

        If you cannot see it as even possible, you might well be the one who drives it away if it starts to happen. It might. It should. It could.

        1. I think you might be misunderstanding me, what I said was that as long as the cops are behaving as they are (ie: violently and in direct opposition to the occupy folks) they cannot be considered part of the movement.  Why would you want someone who is violently attacking your friends and compatriots to be part of your movement, or even believe that this would be tactically wise?  Perhaps I should have expounded by saying that until the cops refuse to arrest OWS folks, and stand to DEFEND them against the corporate state, I do not believe them to be my ally.

    3.  “In the 1960’s the biggest mistake that the anti-war protesters made was to vilify the soldiers instead of just opposing the war.”

      I think that could be an urban legend.

      I wasn’t around then but I did see Rambo: First Blood, which famously mentions ‘baby killers’ and soldiers being spat upon. For a long time I assumed that stuff happened – until I read The Spitting Image which argued that the vilification of soldiers by activists in the 1960s wasn’t widespread by any stretch of the imagination, but that the myth of leftist activists “spitting on soldiers” was promoted to vilify the anti war movement.

      Something to think about; even if you can get a few cops on your side, even if you’re super-nice to them, even if some join the movement as soldiers and marines have – powerful people can still manipulate the media and rewrite history to fit their narrative.

      1. Something to think about; even if you can get a few cops on your side, even if you’re super-nice to them, even if some join the movement as soldiers and marines have – powerful people can will still manipulate the media and rewrite history to fit their narrative.


      2. I would add that perhaps the people who think “reaching out” is the answer should keep in mind who’s more powerful in this little socio-political tango.

        An officer really doesn’t run much risk if they hold out their hand to me in solidarity.  Well, the more paranoiac specimens may think that every protester is hiding a bazooka down the front of our flannel, but that’s not actually true.

        I’m running a pretty big risk if I hold out my hand first.  You just have to look at these stories to know that’s true.

        And let’s not even talk about who has the better armor, who has the better chance of walking away from a conviction, etc.

    4. Did you see the video of Oakland?  A few of the “anarchists” were all hating on the cops, but most of the hippie-type people were urging the black-bloc or whatever to remember that “they’re people – they’re on our side – it’s not them, it’s the institution”…

      The hate isn’t necessarily from the protesters themselves, it’s coming from the cops cracking down.  How to convince the cops that they’re on the wrong side, I don’t know, because the mentality is bred in the departments, and it’s hard to stand up against the system that continually reinforces itself.  It doesn’t help when Wall Street generously gives a phat sum to NYC Police — a little extra insurance…

  7. You won’t easily find a bigger supporter of Portland OWS than me, but this story is total garbage.  It has been made utterly clear  by the authorities (by FAQ, tweet, dialogue, meeting) that overnight camping by Portland OWS outside of Chapman/Lownsdale is not considered legal and is not going to happen, especially now that Federal agents are involved in limiting access to Schunk Plaza. 

    POWS’s efforts to be arrested in various new venues are not coming out of the blue, and there is no jackbooted thuggery happening. Doesn’t mean OWS isn’t justified in doing what they’re doing, but playing dumb is just that: dumb.

      1. Also disingenuous: claiming that a protest on federal property shouldn’t involve the feds. Take it up with the mayor, who explicitly allowed them to cover Schunk. FWIW, I’m not surprised he caved after having gone along with the FBI “christmas bombing” terror hoax of last year.

  8. I don’t think the police have to tell you why you’re being arrested, and  it’s not going to change anything anyway if you’re already handcuffed. They have more powers than they used to have – asking questions or expressing disagreement can get you sprayed in the face with mace because you made them feel ‘unsafe’ . I’ve read that the only things you should say are ‘Am I being detained?’ and “Am I free to go?’ It’s also much more difficult to sue for false arrest. (In my town, you can be stopped for walking, and then once they stop you, they can ask to see what’s in your backpack, and if you refuse, they can take you to the police station because they now have reason to suspect that you’re hiding something.But I don’t live in a police state.)

    1. I read that as “asking questions or expressing disagreement can get you spayed“, and was on to reading the next comment before I thought that might not be right.

  9. Alternately, if they fail to read you your miranda right, youy can claim to be the mastermind of the entire organization, and take up the time of dozens of investigators with your yarns, none of which can be used as evidence of anything, maybe even including evidence of your lying to the police.

    1. I would have to go back and check, but if there is no interrogation at all and you just start chattering away because you feel like it, I am not sure if Miranda applies.

  10. The cops don’t care, they have immunity for following orders. Best just to talk to them about how their union is too powerful.

    1.  I was under the distinct impression that the “I was only following orders” defence was nullified at the Nurumberg trials… following orders is no defence if the orders are illegal… and I was under the distinct impression that they were committing the same sort of crime that the Egyptians and other country’s citizens were committing and we were supporting them in their fight against tyranny… so why is it OK to crack skulls and illegally arrest citizens in America who are merely attempting to practice their constitutional rights of free speech and peaceable assembly.

      I’m really getting upset with the people coming in here defending the crackdown by the authorities as well…

  11. Based on the headline you’d have to believe they asked why they were being arrested before they were being arrested.

  12. The police do this all the time (and it’s legal). When you go to court, it’s dismissed. They are lucky they were not arrested. Guess the cops were not that determined.

  13. I was once arrested for resisting arrest.  When I pointed out the  absurdity of that being the only charge (something I should have waited until I was in court to do), obstruction of a peace officer was added.

  14. If you don’t like getting arrested for resisting arrest, then just arrest your resistance to getting arrested for resisting arrest. 
    Then they have no reason to arrest you.
    Because If you don’t want your contrefait to be face-booked by the coppers, just don’t get arrested.

  15. ‘They said, ‘because you were being blatantly illegal, there was no need for explanation.”

    Didn’t we used to call that a bill of attainder?

    That is, they weren’t doing anything illegal, they were “being” illegal. Or, in other words: they, personally, were against the law.

  16. Several people asked why the Feds are involved and I don’t see it answered so:

    The Feds are involved because over the weekend the OWS demonstraters expanded/moved from the area they were in to another nearby area. This was done because it’s a safe area, has better access, is cleaner, and other concerns along the “We don’t want anyone hurt or miserable” lines of thinking. However, this new area is Federally owned in front of a Federal building. This means anything in that area is under Federal jurisdiction and not the Portland Police Dept or Sheriff’s office, etc.

    So that’s why the Feds are involved. The protesters are on Federal land when they were previously supposed to stay on City owned land.

    1. Federally owned… you mean those stupid 99%ers are trying to make use of the land they pay for.  What a dumb idea, thinking because it belongs to the people the people have rights to it.

      and if you missed it /sarc

      1. Just to be clear I made absolutely no statements about if it was good to do, justified, legal, or anything else. The protesters moved to federal land so the Fed is automatically involved. I was answering a question that was repeated a few times. I didn’t make any statements of my own.

        1. did not mean to imply you did, was beating the trolls to the path they would have taken next.

  17. Way to over-spin, Boing Boing.  Occupy Portland has been deliberately provoking arrests for several days by trying to expand the space they are occupying into other parks.  Few around here in Portland have any sympathy for this action, I think it is overall detrimental to their cause.  Those people knew exactly why they were being arrested, they had been told many times that the park closed at 12:00 & if they didn’t leave they risked arrest.

    1. Well since they are more than 10 people at the protests I am guessing there are few who do seem to support them.
      I’m sorry you don’t like people standing up for whats right because it makes your day more inconvenient. 
      Hopefully you can get them all rounded up and in jail right quick. 
      Then the police can make sure your not doing anything that might offend a corporation or their lapdogs.

      Silly protestors trying to stand up for change interfering with your sensibilities. 
      How dare they try to make life better for people.
      Maybe they can get out some water cannons and really show them whos boss.

      BTW you might want to read up on the Civil Rights Movement and see the relationship of your attitude to that of people angry at them uppity black people causing trouble.

      1. Way to over generalize, That_Anonymous_Coward.  I do in fact support the Occupy Portland movement both verbally & physically.  Many here in Portland do. The part I was referring to was the deliberate provocation of arrests by a small contingent of the the protesters, by attempting to move in to other parks in clear violation of the law.  Yep, we all have 1st amendment rights of assembly.  But, these rights are not unitary, nor do they exist in a vacuum.  They must be balanced against all the other rights, of all the other people.  One of those ‘your right to swing your fist stops where it intersects my nose’ situations.

  18. “arrested for asking why they were being arrested”

    Does not compute.

    You can’t ask why you’re being arrested unless you are already being arrested. So asking why you are being arrested couldn’t have been the reason why it happened.

    The effect of an event can’t be the cause of the SAME event.

    Now, if you had said “Arrested for asking why they were being threatened with arrest” or “why the police were taking issue” that makes sense… but what I see here is simply that the cops didn’t want to tell them why they had been arrested.

    Right or wrong, cops will often arrest people and then let them go without charging them, simply as a way getting someone out of somewhere the cop feels they shouldn’t be.

    To the commenter that said these 10 people will be rich beyond their wildest dreams… get real. False arrest cases rarely go anywhere, especially if they weren’t even charged, when they very well could have been.

    The whole “blatently illegal” thing? well, yeah, maybe the cop didn’t feel like explaining what the protesters already knew:  being in a federal park at 3:45 AM, when the park is closed, is ILLEGAL. If I was there all by myself and a cop saw me, I’d probably get arrested too. Has nothing to do with protesting.

    Occupy Portland believes that the First Amendment provides people with legal protection to peacefully assemble in political protest at any time of the day in any public space.

    Not when the space is closed to the 99%, the 1%, and everyone else, it doesn’t.

    Finally: 10 people got arrested after the police engaged everyone in dialogue. How many were free to go. Answer? All except the 10 that gave the police crap for telling them they had to leave.

  19. I live in Portland. I work two blocks from Lownsdale Square. I very strongly support OWS and Occupy Portland.  But…

    Adding to at least one other commenter making the same point. The feds have been very clear that they would consider after-hours entry into and camping at the federal plaza to be trespassing and would have people arrested for that if they did it. There are plenty of very good reasons for this, not least of which is it is property set aside for the use of all people as a park; meaning reasonable restrictions can be put in place to protect that purpose, even at the cost of free assembly and speech. This, of course, is the case in Chapman & Lownsdale Squares as well, although the city has very wisely not enforced those rules to make room for something that most of the people in Portland actually understand and support. This has cost the city a couple of nice little park blocks, but all in all it seems to be for the greater good.

    Anyway, I think it is offbase to glorify or exaggerate this little encounter. I understand the desire to continue to challenge authority, but I would submit that having successfully Occupied Portland, that energy might now be better spent on Organize Portland – rallies, protests, and events that will engage others, rather than the insularization that appears to be the current trend.

Comments are closed.