I didn’t know what to say about this past weekend. There has already been so much said but I also know I have a lot of people that aren’t from around here and have no idea about what happened other than the fact that I mentioned something about getting pepper sprayed. OPB gave an accurate account of what transpired so I’ll let you read over this really quick and then come back: https://www.opb.org/…/violence-erupts-at-bend…/
All done? So if you watched any of the video, you’d probably spot me in the initial fist fights trying to break things up. There are a few things that have me more than angry about how this event ended. It was peaceful. It was fun. It was meant to be just a chill day. And if the Bend Police Department had of been there and had done their jobs, a lot of this would have been avoided. Here’s issue #1.
When I asked “Why weren’t you HERE? We could have PREVENTED this!”, the officer told me “well… when we came by earlier, we got yelled at. So we left.”
So hold on, you mean to tell me that because they got their feelings hurt, knowing what could have erupted, they opted to leave instead. When things heated up, they arrest the man they believed to steal the flag (they never did find anything on him and we checked the surrounding area and found no stolen flag), but the man that pulled his revolver out was allowed to go because according to the police “It never cleared the holster”. Video and screengrabs say otherwise. They failed to stop people that had been drinking alcohol get behind the wheel. I also watched as a man was riding a dirtbike at high speeds (and losing control once) was patted on the back by Bend Police and told “We appreciate what you’re doing here. Oh and nice bike!”. We appreciate what you’re doing here? Agitating? Really, Bend PD? But no. No citations.
Second issue here: Bend Police attempted to arrest two BIPoC women and spat on another. This is not conjecture. I watched and was in the middle of all of it. They were asking the officers if they would denounce white supremacy and why they were also allowing the man that pulled his weapon to leave without issue. They refused to answer. After their failed attempt at arresting them, I found myself not being able to control myself any longer and out of my mouth came the following words:
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO DENOUNCE SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE SHOULD BE OK WITH DENOUNCING.
My voice cracked with how loud I was yelling, trying to have my voice heard over the crowd. Why is it so hard, to denounce something that immediately affects me, my family, and my brothers and sisters standing beside me today? And you know what the officer I was asking said?
“I am a public servant and I refuse to make a public statement”.
I can see that being said by an officer that was just asked what make and model his personal mode of transportation is, or what his home address is. That is the type of answer you give a question like that. But to “Do you denounce white supremacy” should have a fairly easy answer. Either you do or your don’t. The other day I made a post asking if you denounce it and it was one of the most commented posts I’ve had in a while. It’s not a hard statement and is a stance that should be easily answered. But no. After giving me that BS statement, the rest of the cops turned and walked away, got in their vehicles and rolled up their windows, refusing to talk.
We do not have to be polite when addressing you. Politeness apparently doesn’t work either. The fact is, they simply do not want to hear it. But just as I spoke to that officer, when you put on that uniform and you pledge to “protect and serve” the community, that should not have an asterisk next to it. Protecting your community should not essentially be “we pledge to protect and serve a segment of our community and if you do not fit that description, sorry about your luck”.
That is not how to make your community feel safe. Do not take what was a peaceful party, pat the agitators of said party on the back, when they get attacked, do nothing, try to arrest some of the party goers, and then refuse to answer the grievances of people that you just marginalized. The reality of this is, had it not been for The Central Oregon PeaceKeepers… the outcome of Saturday would have been entirely different. But thankfully, someone had the mindfulness to do something about the hate that was displayed in our direction. And this, again, is why we march. Solidarity. Equality. We will not be moved.
The picture attached is what it looks like when I encounter a direct hit of pepper spray. Our team was helping to direct traffic for the Trump caravan to safely vacate the premises. The organizer claimed someone stole a flag off of one of the Trump vehicles. I didn’t think, I just moved in when fists started flying. It was at that time that I earned my “Spicy” wings on Saturday. the last thing I saw before my eyes shut tight from the pepper spray was an agitator unsuccessfully hitting a woman and falling to the ground. For the next blind 10 minutes I heard screaming, the sounds of tasers and stun guns, several people yelling out “GUN! GUN!”, medics from our team walking me over to a bench in all of the chaos while applying solution to my eyes to help me open them. I could hear people running, falling, yelling and screaming at each other. I had two thoughts.
1. I saw my daughter had ran for safety and I was glad about that but still wanted to verify and
2. If this is just from a party, what will it look like if Trump loses? If this happened over a flag… I don’t want to imagine.
But I will say this. If it means protecting my family & my community, slide that ghost pepper over here because I’m going in for a double dose of the extra spicy stuff.
Photo credit to @Piggyboo_Playa on twitter.