Portland seems like, and people think it is, a fairly enlightened town. Sadly, things like these incidents of cops hassling crowds at predominantly black events do occur there. In fact, the only case where someone I know was pulled over for DWB (driving while black) was in Portland. One of my wife’s coworkers (a 20something professional female) was pulled over for “having her radio too loud” and spent 20 minutes getting question of all manner of things, but always getting back to how it is that she came to be driving an Infiniti. This incident was within a mile of our house, right by Beaverton Mall, half a mile from where they worked.
The interesting tech wrinkle on this story is how the phonecam immediately moved this from the allegation stage into the “why did this happen” stage. In previous eras, there would have been rounds and rounds of denials, evidence gathering, etc before it would have gotten to this point. Immediately, the Portland Tribune ran a picture from a phonecam and escalated the whole thing. For all the downsides of reduced privacy, this is one of the upsides – when power figures abuse their public trust, they also can no longer do it in privacy.
The Portland Tribune must be reasonably new. I don’t remember such a paper existing when I lived there. I originally found out about all this from Boing Boing. I don’t agree with their headline of ‘”Rodney-King-like” citizen phonecam episode’ though. Although this is bad, it doesn’t compare with situations in which the cops were actually beating people.