A large number of recent charges filed against black bloc protesters have been based on eyewitness information from unnamed informants. Last week, WW reviewed probable cause affidavits on protesters who’ve been charged in the past two months, and found that half relied on “confidential reliable informants.” WW found no mention of informants in court filings from 2020 and early 2021 (“Smash and Gab,” June 2, 2021). Use of confidential informants is a long-standing police practice, but legal experts tell WW it’s highly unusual for law enforcement to use such tactics against protesters. The issue also taps into a growing disagreement among Portlanders: whether black bloc gatherings, which have repeatedly ended in property damage, should be considered legitimate protests. Here’s what our readers had to say:
rfyorkinpdx, via wweek.com: “As a geezer progressive, I am not happy with police using these tactics. On the other hand, these people are tearing down our city. They are, for the most part, a bunch of mindless vandals who have little or nothing to do with Black Lives Matter. So, I guess I have to think that whatever tactics the cops need to slow down or stop this, they should use them.”
@Macswain8, via Twitter: “Anyone who thinks police informants embedded in protests are credible hasn’t read anything about the history of cops and civil rights movements. The police use informants not to distinguish between criminal acts and legal protesting, but to attack the protest movement itself.”
Harold Shields, via Facebook: “I support the use of secret informants to identify the perpetrators of destruction. Let’s not forget that the black bloc people are nothing but vandals and arsonists. They stand for nothing but destruction.”
VS, via wweek.com: “Glad the article mentions how little support these blac bloc events have among Black civil rights leaders. They are also wildly unpopular among the general public. Thank goodness the police are using these approaches.”
@Maybe_Surely, via Twitter: “So cops just get to say whatever they want about a person and wreck their life if they just say a trusted informant told them.”
@marziah, via Twitter: “That’s the part that makes me nervous, too.
Suzanne Fleming, via Facebook: “The police and now the mayor are acting more and more like authoritarians. So who are the secret informants? Are they Proud Boys? Oath Keepers? This is a worrisome development.”
Secessionists pay taxes too
I wonder if others were appalled as I with the comments Dr. Know made about our Eastern Oregon residents as well as Idaho [WW, June 2, 2021].
Marty Smith has a tendency to use sarcasm in his articles, but he crossed the line this time. He doesn’t even know these people, but he uses thoughtless stereotypes, such as trailer trash and dead weight. Most of these people are hardworking farmers and ranchers, striving to earn an honest dollar for their family. They also pay their fair share in taxes.
Dr. Know’s comments feed the problems we are facing in our society. We need to treat all with kindness and respectfulness.
Letters to the editor must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification.
Letters must be 250 or fewer words.
Submit to: 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210.