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Justin M. Stoddard

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Keeping the Peace Beijing er, I mean Portland Style
April 26, 2004 — 5:00 pm

I’ve read quite a bit of Chinese history in my time. I’m quite aware of how the People’s Armed Police treat those that step out of line. Beatings, kicks, tasers, pepper spray…every form of restraint is used regardless of the subject’s age or size. After reading this story from my hometown of Portland Oregon today, one wonders if Portland’s finest aren’t getting some private lessons from their overseas counterparts.

Let me break it on down for you.

71-year-old Eunice Crowder is a blind, elderly woman residing in the city of Portland Oregon. Apparently, she ran afoul of the law last year when she was served an “administrative search warrant to remove an accumulation of trash and debris”.

When Eunice explained that she was legally blind and requested to have the warrant read aloud to her, the ever so kind city official refused and shoved the warrant in her hands so he could get going with his urgent official business.

What follows could probably be retold by any countless number of victims…uh, I mean people, who have had dealings with their local law enforcement.

The woman followed the city employee outside. She was concerned that he and his co-workers had removed a family heirloom, a 90-year-old red toy wagon with rhododendrons in it. She asked to enter a trailer, where items from her yard were being placed, to feel around for the wagon.

Marihart told her she couldn’t enter the trailer and said the wagon was not inside. He then called police.

When Portland Officers Robert Miller and Eric Zajac arrived at the house, Crowder acknowledged she had one foot on the curb and one foot on the bumper of the trailer. She felt someone step on her foot and asked, “Who are you?”

Moments later, she felt someone strike her in the head, which dislodged her prosthetic right eye from its socket, and was knocked to the ground, she claimed in her lawsuit.

Officers said Crowder ignored their commands not to climb into the trailer and tried to bite Miller’s hand.

Now, the two member team of “Portland’s finest” did what any rational human being would have done when some elderly blind woman tried to bite their hand.

They threw her to the ground. And then:

While on the ground, Crowder asked the officer what he thought he was doing and kicked Miller. She said the officer kicked her back, then pepper-sprayed her in her eyes.

“While she’s still on the ground, on her stomach, they tased her in the back and in the breast,” her lawyer said.

Police said they pepper-sprayed Crowder after she refused to stop kicking them. They admit that Crowder’s prosthetic eye fell out at some point, and that Zajac stunned Crowder with a Taser, an electric stun gun, twice in the lower back and once in the upper back after ordering her to stop fighting and resisting.

Hey! You gotta show those elderly blind women who’s boss right? Ah, the fine members of the People’s Armed Police would be proud. Job well done.

Thankfully, however, elderly blind women can seek some level of recourse in this country (unlike China). The city of Portland recently agreed to pay Eunice a sum of $145,000. The settlement was:

based on a review by the city’s risk management division that indicated “there is risk the City may be found liable.”

And out of it all, the lady’s lawyer had the best statement. He simply said:

“To kick the crap out of old folks seems a little bit much to me in the name of law enforcement.”

Hear! Hear! Counselor!


— Justin M. StoddardComments (0)

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