On November 21, 2005, at about 9:30 a.m. I parked my car downtown about three blocks from the area of the South Park Blocks where I intended to minister to Portland State University students. Tim, a street preacher, was with me. He was going to preach and I was going to hold my 4’X 5’ anti-abortion sign. We walked up to the part of the park where Montgomery Street intersects the campus and the park. There is a broad walkway beginning at Broadway which goes West between the Smith Building and another campus building and proceeds through the park to the other side. This walkway is about 40 to 50 feet across. Along the East edge of the park is another walkway going north and south which intersects the other walkway. This walkway is about 30 feet across. I positioned myself and my sign on the northwest corner of this intersection standing close to the landscaping. Yocom was on the southwest corner.
Shortly afterwards, two members of the PSU Public Safety patrol came to me and Sgt. K. Riddle (#24259) informed me that I could not stand there with my sign. She showed me her ordinance book with the synopsis of PCC 20.12.030 in it as her legal authority. She said I must carry the sign and “keep moving” or she would arrest me for trespassing. (Trespassing? In a PARK?) I turned on my video camera and verified what she said. I pointed out that the ordinance said nothing about having to carry a sign and keeping moving. I also told her that she could not arrest me for this as it had already been through the courts. I mentioned the federal injunction in Gathright v. City. I asked if she would like to see it as I had it in my car. She said okay, and I went, leaving Tim in charge of the sign. I called attorney Herb Grey to apprise him of the situation and ask him to call campus police and straighten them out. When I returned, neither if the campus police were there. Tim was talking to a Black lady about the gospel. A young woman (see photo), whom I assumed was a student , came up to me and said she thought the sign was “inappropriate” as, she said, there were sometimes children present. I told her that I made an effort to turn the sign away when I saw children in the area. She left.
A few minutes later, I saw the same woman walking back. At this time I had the sign turned a different direction because some children from the local day-care had come out of the Smith Building. I could see that the woman might be intending to damage the sign, so when she got close, I moved toward the front of the sign to get between her and it. She shouldered her way past me and grabbed the top rail of the sign. I reached around her shoulders trying to pull her away. She the put her weight into the sign and broke the frame (PVC electrical conduit) in two places. I then tried to hold on to her by her sweater or jacket so I could call the police. She slipped out of my grasp. I turned on my video camera and got pictures of her and told her she had committed a crime.
After a minute, she began talking to the Black woman Tim had been talking to. Then she went over toward the west entrance of the Smith Building.
I called 911 and gave a complete description of the incident and the woman. I waited, but Portland Police did not arrive. Eventually, Sgt. Riddle arrived and the woman went to talk to her. After that Sgt Riddle came to me and I tried to explain that the woman had committed a crime against me, but Riddle was not interested. She said she was there to arrest me for Harassment.
I was arrested at about 10:30 a.m. so if the Portland Police eventually did come, I was no longer there.
I was handcuffed and placed in the squad car and taken to the Public Safety Office on campus. While there, I was Mirandized and afterwards I made the simple declaration, “I acted in defense of my property and myself” and ended the conversation.
After about an hour, I was taken to the Justice Center jail as they wanted to do fresh mug shots. I was photographed within a half an hour, but was not released until just about 6:00 p.m.
Upon returning home, Sgt. Riddle had left a phone message for me saying that she would be sending me a two-year trespass warning in the mail. This should be excellent for taking to Judge Haggerty along with the video of Sgt. Riddle.
Another phone message was a friend who had come after the arrest who had located an independent witness to corroborate that the woman attacked me and my sign first.
I also called PPD and asked for an officer to come by and take my complaint. Officer Ray (#40967) was recalcitrant about assisting me and would not try to get the name of the woman from the campus police or their police report (which is filed with PPD). She kept insisting that I had broken the law in various ways including Harassment (even in defense) and saying that it was a crime for me to videotape the woman after her crime.
On December 6, I received a letter from the Multnomah County DA saying he was not going to prosecute either of the complaints. This is good as it clears the way for me to proceed with my civil action against PSU, the Sgt., the woman, anf, maybe, the City of Portland that will, I hope, wind up prohibiting the kind of ad hoc rule-making PSU is doing in the parks.