August 19th, 2010 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, Cops and Courts, CLEAN UP

Judge Rules for the Police, Against Peace Activist Joe Walsh in AIPAC Case



Portland police won a courtroom victory this morning against a prominent anti-war protester when a Multnomah County judge ruled that cops had probable cause to arrest peace activist Joe Walsh.

After a two-day civil trial, Circuit Court Judge John Wittmayer this morning granted a request by deputy city attorney David Landrum to rule in the city's favor in a lawsuit brought by Walsh. Wittmayer dismissed the jury and ended the trial after handing down his decision.

As reported in WW this week, Walsh sued the city for $250,000, claiming cops discriminated against him based on his political beliefs when Walsh was arrested in 2009 while protesting a dinner by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

"I find there was probable cause to arrest the defendant and probable cause to prosecute him criminally," Wittmayer said.

Walsh was acquitted last year on charges of interfering with police and disorderly conduct.

Before Wittmayer's decision this morning, Walsh's attorney, Greg Kafoury, warned the judge that ruling in the city's favor would give a green light for police to discriminate.

"I asked [the city's attorney] Mr. Landrum before, and I'll ask you now to not put words in my mouth," Wittmayer told Kafoury.

Video footage shows police allowed an Israeli diplomat to stand in the driveway outside the AIPAC event and shoot pictures of the protesters. But Walsh was arrested for stepping into the same driveway against police orders.

Walsh, a Navy veteran and retired longshoreman, was visibly upset after the trial. He declined comment on Wittmayer's decision.

"That's a ruling that will take a while to sink in," Kafoury said. "What he's saying is that police discrimination is OK. That's what he's saying."

Asked if Walsh plans an appeal, Kafoury said "hell yes."
 
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