Portland police union lawyers vandalized overnight
As Black Lives Matter protests and more aggressive unrest continue in Portland, someone vandalized overnight the offices of the law firm of the union representing the city's police officers.
Two bricks smashed windows, and someone spray painted in red the words "Kkop lawyer scum" on the garage door of the house in Northeast Portland the firm calls home.
The Public Safety Labor Group includes Will Aitchison, the union's former longtime lawyer of the Portland Police Association, and Anil Karia, the union's present attorney.
The damage occurred even as some people downtown have been engaged in graffiti, arsons and assaults on local and federal officers following peaceful protests, and Aitchison, the senior member of the firm, said he believes it's not a coincidence.
"The protests are no longer about police reform," he said. "They're about destruction, and they're tearing apart our town. Every one of us needs to demand that the Portland City Council do its job and stop the violence."
The vandalism brings to mind damage that was done to the office of Sean Riddell, the lawyer representing the union of immigration agents during the "Occupy ICE" protests last year. At the time, Willamette Week received an anonymous email from self-described anarchists taking responsibility for the damage.
"It's the act of cowards to attack the lawyer," said Riddell of the new bout of vandalism. In a democracy, everyone is entitled to an attorney to protect their rights under the law, and "attacking the lawyer is attacking the democracy," he added.
Aitchison spent parts of 12 years litigating on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, suing to fight religious influence in the realm of government-funded health care. He and his clients have repeatedly blasted Republicans for their hostility toward unions.
In a 2016 interview, Dan Handelman, a volunteer for Portland Copwatch, faulted the union for its success at protecting disciplined officers, but said, "I think that it's always a tough situation for people in the progressive community dealing with the police association, because we think that every worker has the right to bargain for rights for their retirement and health and safety."
Handelman, Mayor Ted Wheeler and city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the vandalism.
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