Justice Journal 4- up all night edition not for the faint of heart

Justice Journal 4

More personal and not for the faint hearted.

You’re never given more than you can handle?


  If you looked at these situations through the lens of a psychologist you could identify clearly the model of the dysfunctional family. There are 3 players in this model, the abuser, the enabler and the abused. Here historically the police are the abuser, the City and their policies and their union and its negotiated bargaining agreements enable the abused, or victim, child or survivor to be abused once through the initial assault and again through a broken system created to exonerate the abuser and further traumatize and damage the abused.

               It’s the same model that occurs in sexual abuse to children. First is the initial crime and the threats that if you report it even worse things will happen. So when you get older with the damage still sitting in your soul and you have no insurance and no medicine and you end up medicating yourself you’re looked upon as less than a citizen of Portland and it is assumed that you chose to live this way and there so you are entitled to any treatment someone wants to give you because by now you yourself believe you are worthless and when you try to kill yourself and you don’t die you go back to medicating yourself again. And a small percentage of people succeed in their suicide attempts- over 200 in Portland last year. And a very large percentage get stuck in a vicious cycle of houselessness, hunger and no place to lay your head increases the depression and anxiety, and try to get help but the City you live in has a history of racist policies and doesn’t prioritize your ability to get the help you need . They don’t see that all these things are a human right. They don’t know that you sold your body to get food in your stomach or drugs to relieve the pain from a life of not being cared for in a way everyone should be cared for.

               So you’ve become a person who needs to be dealt with but the issue is that the first responder is a person who was sent to deal with you, to remove you from the neighborhood or pick you up when you are alone and are acting strange because all of your hierarchy of needs as a human being, a child of the creator have not been met for a very long time. You could be angry or scared, exhausted or inebriated so when the police pick you up you’re not happy. And then you get the beat down, when you wake up in a cell with a knot on your head and a busted lip and contusions all over your body you blame yourself. And when someone who cares convinces you to stand up for your right you do it- not because you believe in the process but because someone who cares about you encourages you. You get interviewed by some cop over the phone who is supposed to interview you and instead interrogates you and you hang up because you are now triggered back to the traumatic experience, and the fact that the cop has no idea what he has just put you through, he has not had the training to speak to folks with mental illness and besides he already prejudged you, the odds are on his side and he belongs to a culture of “protect and serve”. What has always been in the back of your head is now reality~ it was never meant to “protect and serve you”. You the community member, Portlander, son, brother, father you all one hundred and five pounds of you hogtied and beaten with a spit sock over your head in the backseat of a patrol car until you were crying and begging for them to not kill you. The day before you were hanging out with your cousin, not a scratch July 9th, not only do you arrive in my office at City hall

Looking like a truck hit you but telling me you have to go to court because you were charged with harassment for spitting on the officer and when we get there we find the charges were dropped. I stupidly convinced you to stand up and fight for your rights not knowing how corrupt and dishonest the entire process. SIX months without hearing much of anything. With being told you could have a person to person interview which the interrogator refused to do despite the fact his supervisor told him to do. We received the letter with the decision from the Police that exonerated then Police. The fox said with feathers around his mouth and flesh in his teeth the he did not eat the chicken. I will never again in life tell someone to enter into this disempowering process ever again. It is designed to remove your rights from the word go and the abuser has all the rights and the enablers are in place to continue abusing the victim. What blows me away it that they act like they don’t see the inequity of this process and in fact are getting ready to get another 26 million taxpayers’ dollars to figure it out how not to do what they claim they are already not doing? And a Federal Judge is coming to hear from us Monday morning.

  This stems out of the decision by the DOJ ruling a while back that said the Portland Police do not mistreat people of color more than the rest of the population but that they do have a problem with their treatment of the mentally ill. My 105 lb., Native American son suffers from intergenerational trauma, depression and PTSD. The police knew his history and dumped him unconscious and beaten on the floor of a cell. He received no medical attention because if they took him there it would be evident he needed care. And according to the police report that was fabricated after he filed his claim it states he came in with now injuries. Surprisingly there is no mug shot available for his July 9th arrest.

               In conclusion, I would like to mention that there is another percentage group of folks with mental illness and oppression from being treated different as a person of color in Portland. It is the percentage that I belong to and they are the survivors and overcomer who somehow by the grace of creator. We are the ones who got help, got clean, got radicalized and when we did , we didn’t forget where we came from and turn back, not to look but to put out our hand to help others have what we have. We become activists and organizers and social workers, artists and advocates~ we wouldn’t have it any other way. Throughout this whole process with my son both IPR and the Police said “you can’t advocate for him- he has to do it himself. Knowing what I know both about the illness and Bullies is that Bully tactics allow abusers to stay abusers they know and we know it. I really don’t get how anyone see the existing process as fair. It can’t be fair being so one sided. It can’t be fair without dialog from both sides. You cannot repair a process looking through only one lens and you can’t achieve an equitable process in a silo. And you can’t expect people to know what they don’t know, they can’t decide their training needs in a bubble.



 This attack on my son retriggered my own PTSD, anxiety and depression to a level of darkness I never thought I would ever go. It had me shaking so bad and crying that I missed a lot of work and had to file fmla to preserve my job. I was prescribed 3 additional drugs. Imagine, if you can that your child has been abused and his abuser was your co-worker and every day you were expected to walk into the belly of the beast whose policy protected the abusers and prevented you from getting Justice for the victim and that your own job there was to increase the voices that had historically gone unheard due to previous racist and exclusive policy, could you do it?Image

About jerisw1

Activist, artist , story teller ,writer currently working for the City Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
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