When the Portland police arrived their reputation for impartial mediation preceded them. Tensions wound tight relaxed; now we would see whether this effort would obtain its end, a meeting with the Oregon District Director of the Postal Service, called to address questions surrounding administrative measures dismantling the Service.
The police officer entrusted with taking charge of a scene in which several citizens reported a physical assault in progress was Sergeant Willie Halliburton, whose bare head (in contrast to the Portland police officers; the two postal inspectors were in mufti, that is not in any special uniform, let alone wearing a helmet), glossy black hair, and quiet air of command in a sense brought the assembled protesters and security officials back to their views of themselves: we are not violent, and we are asking politely for an appointment; they are not bullies, but public officials entrusted with the business of the republic.
Your Intrepid Reporter did have a chance to offend the sergeant, as it has become my usual effort to begin relationships with a slight negative. “That’s quite the war-criminal last name you have there,” said I.
“I don’t know; I’m proud of it,” he answered. It is what the comedian Dave Barry would call a ‘guy thing’, to make your name given you by your father something both he and you can be proud of. In recompense, I shared with the sergeant the unpleasant fact that my own name, in a commonly-spoken foreign language, means “I piss”.
While the even-tempered sergeant went to speak with the administrators, including District Director Blix, of the Postal Service, we demonstrators were left in the custody of Officer J. Nett, who kept his [bicycle] helmet on. He did give us a pretty smooth Good Cop patter though. He said that many honorable people have chosen to make their point through civil disobedience, including many successful politicians, and he sympathized with the way we were now behaving.
Even better, when the handsome Sergeant Halliburton returned it was with word that District Director Blix had agreed to an appointment — which was what we wanted and we could all go home. He added a word or two of his personal recommendation that we’d be well advised to so decide to do.
But, John Schweibert and Jamie Partidge pointed out to Sergeant Halliburton, the administrative officials of the United States Postal Service have been lying, misleading, and evading issues since we began; and in particular in September, just the previous month, had persuaded us to leave with the promise that they would check with the legal advisors and get back to us — which did not happen. We will leave, the two leaders stated firmly (after consulting with the rest of us) when Amanda Blix puts her promise to leave in writing.
Ah, faithful reader, you would have thought, would you not, that the [ahem] impartial employees of the municipal government would then return to the US Postal Service official who made that offer, with our counter-offer. That’s not what happened. At this juncture, the sergeant made an effort to portray a statement made to him as something like a public declaration, since he, Sergeant Halliburton, is standing in for the government of the city.
You know, in retrospect that appeal might have been strengthened by an offer for Sergeant Halliburton to have put in writing the statement, that District Director Blix had promised us a appointment within a reasonable time; but no. Within a couple of minutes of our having stated that we were not going anywhere upon oral assurances this time, we were all
I had the honor of riding to jail in the same patrol car with Ben Poe, the most injured one of us, as we were driven, shackled in handcuffs, to Central Jail. Ben told me the other day (when the Community Court set a date for lawyers from the prosecution and the defense to make arrangements for a jury trial) that the bruise he received that afternoon has spread down his leg to his toes. He visibly limps, three weeks later.