The Portland Police Bureau put hoods over the faces and headphones on the ears of a group of activists linked together before they arrested them. The activists had been blocking the gate to the ICE building in SW Portland yesterday afternoon, protesting deportations under the Trump administration.
Police used hoods and headphones on the protesters, the bureau says, so the activists wouldn’t get hit with sparks or get ear damage from the loud noises emanating from the power tools used to remove them from the “sleeping dragon” device connecting the five people.
But the police never used any power tools. There were no sparks that could have hit their faces. There were no loud noises that could have damaged their ears. The so-called “sleeping dragon” in this case—per police, it was made of a plastic pipe, yarn, fabric, chicken wire, bolts, and chains—only required the use of small, non-electric cutters. In short: the hoods and headphones were for “protection” from tools that the PPB did not once use.
In a statement this morning, as they said to us last night, the bureau says it was for their protection. They also say now the hoods and headphones strategy “also prevents the protestors (sic) from intentionally causing themselves injury during the removal and/or falsely claiming injury to halt the cutting.” If they can’t see or hear what’s going on, the theory goes, they can’t stop the cutting or try to hurt themselves.
There were five protesters linked together blocking the gate to the ICE building, with four “sleeping dragon” devices linking them together. As police worked on separating and arresting them, they put the hoods and headphones on two protesters at a time—the ones on either side of of the device. When they were freed from the device and cuffed, the cops took the hoods and headphones off and hauled them to the back of the van. The federal cops didn’t arrest the final two people in the chain because ICE employees and a GEO prison transportation bus were able to leave using the driveway once the first three were gone.
Three others not in the link were arrested before the cops worked on removing the “sleeping dragon.” They refused to get out of the driveway.