Absolute Portland Report

The ACLU sent a letter to Amazon this week protesting law enforcement use of its “Rekognition” facial recognition program. It turns out a nearby police department is leading the way:

The tool, called Rekognition, is already being used by at least one agency — the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon — to check photographs of unidentified suspects against a database of mug shots from the county jail, which is a common use of such technology around the country.

But privacy advocates have been concerned about expanding the use of facial recognition to body cameras worn by officers or safety and traffic cameras that monitor public areas, allowing police to identify and track people in real time. 

The tech giant’s entry into the market could vastly accelerate such developments, the privacy advocates fear, with potentially dire consequences for minorities who are already arrested at disproportionate rates, immigrants who may be in the country illegally or political protesters.

“People should be free to walk down the street without being watched by the government,” the groups wrote in a letter to Amazon on Tuesday. “Facial recognition in American communities threatens this freedom.”

Tech firms like Amazon Web Services are developing technology that will enable police to identify most people immediately from, for instance, a cop’s body cam. It should help them in rounding us up to work in the salt mines after the hammer comes down for real.

The Orwellian implications of the above story render this grim police blotter item quaint, but look for the surprise:

Members of the Portland Police Bureau Detective Division’s Homicide Detail continue to investigate the death of a person that occurred Monday evening on Southwest 2nd Avenue between Southwest Ash Street and Southwest Ankeny Street. 

Based on information gathered in the initial investigation, detectives believe there was a disturbance between two people on the east sidewalk of Southwest 2nd Avenue. During the disturbance a gun was fired and the victim was struck by gunfire. As officers arrived at the scene they immediately provided the victim with emergency first aid. When emergency medical responders arrived at the location they determined the victim was deceased. 

The suspect remained at the scene and was taken into custody without incident. After being interviewed by Homicide Detail detectives, the suspect was lodged at the Multnomah County Jail. 

The suspect has been identified as 33-year-old Sophia G. Adler. Adler was lodged on a charge of Murder (At the time of this release a booking photograph was not available.).

That’s right, a female gun homicide suspect. The location is right behind, I think, the main Salvation Army shelter and in a rough pocket of downtown that draws a lot of homeless.

Speaking of shelters, I’ve been having some interesting conversations with a friend about their experience working at a female domestic violence shelter. Trans men are showing up and getting beds in female-only dorms. Employees who complain can expect to be fired–women in the shelter can expect to be kicked out–if they complain. There is no bottom.

The ACLU won’t be addressing any of that, unless someone challenges the rights of the trans men. But they are on the city’s case for alleged police excess in the Trump Season of Protest:

Today, with the help of a ferocious team of lawyers at Tonkon Torp, we have filed six lawsuits in Multnomah County Circuit Court to hold the Portland Police Bureau accountable for their violent response to protest. The lawsuits include six plaintiffs who were brutalized by police at protests between October 2016 and June 2017. 

Kat Stevens 

Patricia Barger 

Charles Stubbs 

Tristan Romine-Mann 

Peggy Zebroski 

Kelly Simon 

Our clients were assaulted or battered at a protest at Portland City Hall in October 2016, at a youth-led protest following the election in November 2016, at the Not My Presidents Day protest in February 2017, and at a counter protest to the June 2017 Patriot Prayer alt-right gathering.

I was at the June 2017 demonstration.

Right-wing but not white nationalist groups–Joey Gibson, a conservative Christian Trump supporter (who I think is actually of Pacific Islander background) organized the “pro free speech” event” when that was a trend. They had a permit to occupy a small park directly across from City Hall, and were surrounded by counter-protesters on three sides, each of those of a different theme–pro-immigrant on one side, labor rights (somehow) on the other, and the antifa horde you see above. Everything was kept in check by police cordoning off the opposing sides, but all they had to do to effect a Charlottesville would have been to stand down as they did there.

Antifa presence was heavy and threatening, kept in check by an equally heavy police presence:

To keep these groups apart at the protest’s end, police pushed antifa northward with flashbangs and I think even a little tear gas:

Sorry about the kid there ruining the shot with his narration:

There was speculation protesters leaving in smaller groups would be picked off once the event was over, and there were confrontations here and there:


Our small Black Panther contingent blocked a street briefly, but I saw no arrests or fights.

Optics were awful on both sides, of course.

The ACLU also cites the post-election protest from November 2016. Here’s a funny video of me getting flash-banged (at about 3:30) moments before getting arrested along with the lefties in that debacle. My reaction is a little embarrassing:

I’m already nostalgic for those simpler times. Look here for a regular dispatch from Poztown every Tuesday.

One thought on “Absolute Portland Report

  1. I remember you relating your arrest experience on 2Kevins back in the day. That was an entertaining listen – although I felt bad for you….esp. the car being towed. Truly insult to injury. I enjoyed your backstory/biography too. You bring an exceedingly thoughtful perspective to the table. If you weren't so dang humble you would be a rockstar.


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