There's now verification on Occupy Portland protester Justin James Bridges, who was hospitalized after the police raided the encampment there. A reporter with the Portland Mercury interviewed Bridges by telephone today:
"Bridges, 28, runs an internet radio station an has been living at the Occupy camp for nearly five weeks, volunteering as a sign language interpreter during the protest's general assemblies. He was interpreting for the deaf during yesterday's assembly in Chapman Park during the eviction when the police began pushing hold-outs out of the park. "The cops came in and started pushing people and destroying things," says Bridges. "I turned around and told everyone that was standing by watching to get their video tapes out because they were violating our rights and we have to protect our rights. When I turned back around, I got caught in the crowd and my back got pushed up against a concrete trash can and I fell on to the ground." Another photo of the interaction is here."
"The police grabbed me by my legs and pulled me through the mud," says Bridges. "They started saying I was resisting arrest and started beating me. They tried to pick me up and I couldn't feel my legs, they were screaming at me because I couldn't walk." When officers grabbed ahold of his bandana, Bridges continues, he began to choke and told officers he couldn't breathe. "One of the cops laughed and said, 'You can still breathe because you can talk.'" Bridges says he passed out and was not arrested, but instead taken to the hospital. "I was beat, they took away my first amendment right to peacefully assemble. They didn't even charge me or arrest me. "
"While his arm is hurt, Bridges hopes to be released from the hospital today because he's a medical marijuana patient, but is not allowed to have marijuana in Legacy Emanuel."
The extent of Bridges injuries isn't mentioned in the interview.
End of update.
This information started coming in through Twitter in the early hours this morning, it is not verified, but coming from multiple Twitter sources:
ALERT! A man named Justin James Bridges, musician & ASL translator for Occupy Portland General Assembly, was assaulted by @PortlandPolice today during camp clean out.
He was beaten repeatedly in the back and has now lost use of his right arm. Though Justin was lying on the ground in compliance, Portland Police continuously beat him in the back with clubs until his eyes rolled back in his head. Fellow protesters thought he was dead. He is now in critical care.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION, ESPECIALLY PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE, DO NOT HESITATE TO COME FORWARD.
National Lawyers' Guild # 503-902-5340. Protect rights, protect the truth.
Various reports on Youtube along with the above video, again, this is unconfirmed:
"THIS IS THE TRUE STORY OF HOW OCCUPY PORTLAND WAS CLEARED FROM THEIR ENCAMPMENT! YOU WON'T BE SEEING THIS ON THE MSM!"
Then on Occupy Portland's website, its Twitter feed has many reports along with links the the above video:
"Possible ID of Justin James Bridges 36 seconds into this brutal video of @PortlandPolice assaulting unarmed citizens.
One Associated Press report mentions that "One man was taken away on a stretcher; he was alert and talking to paramedics, and raised a peace sign to fellow protesters, who responded with cheers." Although with no other information given, I am unable to confirm at this time if this is Justin James Bridges, or anyone else who was injured by police batons.
Most reports this morning confirm that at least 50 Occupy Portland protesters were arrested during the police operation to clear out the public parks, but most repeat a claim that "No one was injured and no pepper spray or less-lethal munitions were used." Few are reporting that one police officer was injured and taken to an area hospital by ambulance, and a protester being arrested in connection with that incident.
More on this as soon as anything comes in to either confirm, or dispute the claims regarding Justin Bridges.
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