Are Missoula City Police Harassing #OccupyMissoula?

by jhwygirl

It’s a pretty hefty charge to make, but as Missoula County resident, #OccupyMissoula participant and attorney Taryn Hart points out, it’s unsafe for not only the occupiers, but for the intoxicated people Missoula City Police are allegedly dropping off at the occupation, located on the Missoula County Courthouse lawn.

A tactic, she explains at her blog Plutocracy Files, used by police against Occupy movements across the nation.

Occupy Missoula is an alcohol and drug-free encampment. The agreed to this on day #1. To hear that city police are delivering intoxicated and belligerent people off at the encampment is troubling.

This is something that should be troubling to the community, too. These types of actions can leave the City exposed to any number of lawsuits should something occur which results in injury or death.

Hear it in Ms. Hart’s words:

I had heard from several of the 24/7 occupiers at Occupy Missoula that the police have dropped off drunken, belligerent people at the occupation. I happened to be there when just that happened. A woman who was extremely drunk and was belligerent was dropped off by Officer Kasey Williams of the Missoula Police Department, Badge #348. She headed directly into the occupation and was belligerent and threatening. This very small occupation was forced to handle this on their own (which, by the way, they did very well).

As soon as I left I called Sgt. Jerry Odlin to speak to him about it. I informed him of the situation and informed him that the occupation has rules prohibiting intoxication. He denied that anything had been done to create disruption at the Occupy Missoula occupation.

These are serious claims to make. Taryn Hart has put herself out there in her own words with specific allegations to this incident. She is calling on not only the community but the media to contact both the Missoulian and Missoula Mayor Engen to let them know that this type of behavior is unacceptable and dangerous and needs to stop.

~~~~
I’m also going to add this – I caught KECI NBC Montana’s report on Occupy Missoula either Wednesday or Thursday evening, with Steve Fetveit speaking of “feces in the bushes,” while Heidi Meili countered – with a distressed look on her face and concern in her voice – about the “health risks” exposed to the community.

Now – I don’t get downtown every day, and I don’t know if anyone’s ever noticed but we’ve got homeless people here in Missoula. In fact, there are homeless people everywhere across the nation. There has been – again, in fact – homeless people around on this earth since the beginning of time. Some of them have mental issues, and others have no other choice – it’s a mix of humanity, much as it is for those who sleep in beds under roofed structures.

Homeless people – and this is a factual reality – don’t have easy access to bathrooms. I am not saying that what occurs because of this reality is acceptable by any means, but I am saying this is a factor that, it appears, many people have chosen to push out of their mind as they turn their sight (and voice) to the plight of homeless people.

Having been to the Missoula County courthouse a few times, I can tell you that there was feces – and lots of other stuff – hanging out there in the bushes for a long long time. This spring – or was it last fall? – they were doing some renovations down there. Couldn’t enter in through the front door. Well, I had walked up to that front door not paying attention as I sipped my soy chai latte, no foam, from Broadway Bagels…which left me having to tramp to the west side door out by the parking lot on the side of the building.

I got to walk by all those bushes and squeeze through the line of them over there bordering the parking lot. It looked like people were living in there. There was clothing and bundles and garbage. All kinds of crap – and I do mean, literally, crap. I remember noting at the time how odd it was that the County Courthouse, such a visible public place, could house such an amount of humanity and its garbage behind the bushes and no one seemed to notice.

Maybe Steve Fetveit should do the gentlemanly thing and accompany Heidi Meili in her perfectly coiffed hair and 3 1/2″ heels down to the Missoula County Courthouse – in broad daylight so as to ensure their safety – and ask a few people down there how many bags of garbage and crap they carted out of the grounds of the courthouse in the first few days of #occupyMissoula?

Maybe Steve Febveit Heidi Meili should then take a short walk up to the Poverello Center during the lunch hour to see the unwashed homeless as they gather for one of the three warm meals a day they may be lucky to get – along with a chance to perhaps wash up and go to the restroom. Ask ’em where they go to the bathroom during the night.

The news may shock those news reporters.

There are insufficient services here for the homeless. Homelessness is a fact of humanity. Grow up and deal with it. Occupy Missoula is and has been since the first day. Hell – I stood on the courthouse lawn the first day and a homeless lady came up and, asking me if I was in charge, continued to berate me for not having anything more to eat than salad.

Does Occupy Missoula have a homeless problem? You bet ya. Its the same homeless problems that Missoula has had since this earth produced man on earth.

Appalled by feces as the Courthouse people? It didn’t magically show up with Occupy Missoula.


  1. JC

    The day that OccupyMIssoula decided to march to the courthouse and take up a presence on the lawn, a friend of mine and myself took it upon ourselves to look “behind the bushes” so to say. We got our some surgery gloves and proceeded to pick up bag after bag of trash–feces, toilet paper, empty beer and booze bottles, bags that obviously had contained drugs of one sort or another, needles, clothes, blankets, paper, used condoms, general trash, etc. OccupyMissoula makes regular forays into the bushes surrounding the courthouse to keep them clean.

    One of the great things of OccupyMissoula is that it is drawing attention to the homeless in Missoula–it is forcing many in this town to realize that even though the official policy of the police and others is to disperse the problem (“move it on”), or to congregate it in places like the Povarello or the county lockup, that when people start having to deal with the visage of the underbelly of Missoula’s forgotten, that they get squeamish. Very squeamish. WHich is why the Heidi Meili’s in our community pucker when they hear the word “feces.”

    We in OccupyMissoula have a similar problem where many of our members have not had direct contact with our homeless and mentally ill, and addicted due to the dispersal of them throughout our community. So we begin the process of educating our citizenry with our own supporters, which is one of our big struggles right now.

    To them I offer that in order to show compassion in our community, we need to practice empathy–to listen with the heart. And then channel the feelings that come with compassion to doing good deeds with our fellow Missoulians. Otherwise we are practicing the same old ways of a community that is too willing to look the other way as city sweeps the problem aside–or drops it in your midst to create turmoil, as with the drunk drop-offs that Taryn is referring to.

    Thanks for the post jhwygirl. Let’s me get some of this “shit” off of my shoulders.

  2. Thanks to the comments on both issues: The continuing plight of the homeless, and the official and illegitimate reponse by officials to discredit and disrupt the Occupy movement. I suspect that in many venues this goes so far as to plant agents provocateurs within the encampments.

    I was attending a conference on Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s efforts to promote his despicable program to install a kindler, gentler eugenics program in place of the social safety net. There were a number of calls to the police to suppress First Amendment rights and to cleans the premises of all who question Sam’s divine right and authority.

    Fortunately the many officers who responded were more professional than the stooges imported by Brownback who have years of experience of sending boiler plate responses to consituents as their entire work history.

    I would hope that things are considerably better in Missoula and Montana, but the local police should remember, given the overwhelming vote against corporate personhood, that change is in the wind and is not likely going to be stopped by repression, no matter how well it is disguised.

  3. Excellent reporting, on both this, Davis, and the national trend toward excessive force to dislodge the occupiers. Police misbehavior, no doubt about it. And no doubt designed to discredit the Occupy Missoula (and elsewhere) folks.

    Still, I find myself wondering what tenting on the commons over winter accomplishes. The Occupiers around the nation have uttered their primal scream of outrage over America’s maldistribution of wealth. And the scream has been heard. Polls report that most American agree.

    So, what is accomplished by further occupying the commons instead of segueing into electoral politics?

    If citizens stop listening to a message with which they already agree, and begin viewing the occupiers as anarchistic scruffians hijacking and trashing the commons in a self-indulgent exercise of what amounts to directing an indecent finger signal to the larger community, it will generate a backlash and b-roll footage for law-n-order advertisements for the likes of Bob Fanning and Mitt Romney.

    In 1968, there were riots, constant images of riots and burning cities, and finally the image of Richard Nixon winning the Presidency. Occupiers with a sense of history might want to give that some thought.

    • On Friday, police officers at the University of California, Davis doused students with pepper spray for sitting together with locked arms. This act was perceived as a “threat,” according to the officers.

      Last night, students lined the way between UC Davis Chancellor Katehi’s office and her car, and sat in silence as she walked out of the building to go home. The silence is deafening in the video.

      Something has shifted in this country. Apathy is not an option for the people who are inheriting the future rife with unprecedented challenges. The tactics and the dedication of this group are new, effective and powerful.

    • JC

      “So, what is accomplished by further occupying the commons instead of segueing into electoral politics?”

      Two separate questions, and not an either/or debate.

      I think at OccupWallStreet they are grappling exactly with that question on whether or not the investment in energy to set up another encampment, only to have it disrupted by police again is a good thing. It will be interesting to see how they work it out.

      But a comment about segueing into electoral politics is an easy one. I think that overall the movement is resistant to wanting to participate along traditional electoral pathways. There may be some easy ones–like OccupyMissoula’s support for the anti-corporate personhood referendum. But many, many people feel that as long as contemporary politics occur in a corrupt system, that no matter who you elect, that they will be corrupted to some degree. Agree or not with that statement, it is a major topic of discussion. And many don’t want to see other traditional political forces (think MoveOn or PDA) co-opt the movement, and think that energy is better spent currently operating outside the political environment. My opinion is that sure, we could participate in a do-least-harm form of political involvement, but ultimately until our political system is altered to remove the money and corporations from it, that true political reform is impossible.

      And for the last question, it isn’t so much “what is accomplished by further occupying the commons “, as it is where certain people continue to occupy the commons. There are hundreds of homeless people in Missoula, and they have been dispersed by the powers-that-be into the recesses of our community where the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy takes over. We are making a concerted effort to support those homeless people in a way where they can make their presence known, and can quit hiding from their community. OccupyMissoula’s presence on the courthouse lawn in a way is a “coming out” of homeless people in our community. For us to not support them is to ask them to go back to sleeping under bridges, in alleys, and in their cars on back roads and parking lots. And so many of us have committed to doing what we can to support them in as positive of a way as we can. ANd all the while, we are continuing on with our other work of building the movement, organizing with other occupations, teaching each other about alternative structures for living, working and governing ourselves. And we are working on a vision of the future that reaches across all of the socio-economic divides that are currently used to exploit and marginalize the populace.

      • ” My opinion is that sure, we could participate in a do-least-harm form of political involvement, but ultimately until our political system is altered to remove the money and corporations from it, that true political reform is impossible.”

        How do you alter it by pitching tents on the commons and declaring, “Everyone is corrupt. I won’t get my hands dirty working within the system.”? Political reform comes slowly and imperfectly in a nation of 310 million — and it comes more slowly and more imperfectly when those with the talent to help instead embrace fatalism, cynicism, and disaffection.

        Dropping out politically can have deadly consequences. In 1968, it helped elect Richard Nixon. In 2010 (where the turnout in the 18-29 cohort was much lower than in 2008), it helped the GOP win control of the U.S. House.

        *****

        “And for the last question, it isn’t so much ‘what is accomplished by further occupying the commons,’ as it is where certain people continue to occupy the commons.”

        It also seems to me that helping the homeless is not what Occupy (insert city) set out to do. The occupations were protests against Wall Street and the maldistribution of wealth in this country. That message had clarity. I think the occupiers now risk muddling their message by equivocating, “Oh, the commons has always been occupied, so the names change but the occupied status doesn’t.” I can’t think of a single occupied commons where the norm was high density encampments of backpacking tents, let alone large army field tents, sheltering political activists.

        I think shining a light on the predicament of the homeless does good if that goads the community (I should say communities, as what’s occurring in Missoula is occurring across the nation) into finding better ways to help the homeless. But even if Occupy Missoula declares it has changed its focus from share the wealth to help the homeless, a change of focus that could do a lot of good, moving the homeless from cars on remote roads to what must be temporary tent towns in public parks is not a tenable long term solution.

        • In April of 1967, a rally I helped organize got at least 10,000 people to march from the Ferry Building on the San Francisco waterfront to Kezar Stadium, where we were joined by 30,000 more war protesters.

          The Democrats lost the presidency because they promoted the war on Viet Nam for seven years, because they suppressed protests in particular during the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, and because they let Nixon get away with convincing the puppet South Vietnamese government to reject peace talks with promises of even more troops and expanded bombing. They gave the nomination to Hubert Humphrey who had been complicit in the war, and who hadn’t won a single primary.

          I’ve supported and worked in soup kitchens for many decades. I worked for many years reintegrating ex-offenders through very successful jobs programs, by hiring them myself, by visiting them in prisons, by joining in lawsuits over prisoner rights and by taking them into my home after they had been paroled.

          I’ve worked with the homeless mentally ill for years, dragging them out of dumpsters and placing them temporarily into shelters, and finally into independent living. I’ve sought and obtained those benefits for which they were entitled. I’ve brought reeking homess into my own home and did their laundry while they were showering so that when I took them to a shelter, they didn’t smell so bad that they were marked permanently among the staff and residents alike by that initial impression.

          All those are decent and worthwhile things to do, something that I’ve invested many years of my life in, often at substantial cost to myself. However, working with needy individuals is not going to change the world. If you want to save people, join the Salvation Army. If you want to save the world, join the Occupy movement.

        • JC

          James, it isn’t a black and white one or the other. Because we are doing one thing doesn’t mean we can’t do others. And it doesn’t take energy away from it. I’m fully capable of participating in a movement on many levels.

          Many people think that the issues of homelessness, mental illness and addiction are symptoms of what is wrong with our society. Ignoring them while working to solve the big problem is like treating cancer by waiting for or researching the cure, when you could be doing chemotherapy to help in the interim.

          People don’t want to turn their backs on those in the greatest need while they work on goals that don’t have any near-term advantages. And when the community sees you working on local issues, they are more open to joining in and working towards the greater goals of structural reform of our political institutions.

          • E. J. Dionne, Jr., has a perceptive column in Monday’s Washington Post. He says in part:

            “Occupations proved to be a shrewd tactic. They are not a cause or an end in themselves. Focusing on holding a piece of public land simply makes the movement a hostage to the decisions of local officials, some of whom will inevitably be hostile to its purposes.”

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-occupation-doesnt-have-to-be-over/2011/11/18/gIQAasH5fN_story.html

            At what point do the Occupiers become hijackers of the commons? The nobility of the cause does not exempt the Occupiers from the law or give them first claim to the commons. Wintering over in a public space is not the same as a sit down strike at the Big Stink Factory. It changes the character of the public space, functionally displacing other citizens with an equal right to enjoy the land — and to enjoy it as it existed before the occupiers arrived.

            There are many effective options for conducting campaign for social change, but wearing out one’s welcome in the village square is not one of them. That’s the issue now confronting the Occupy movement, and I don’t think the occupiers are doing very well with it.

            It’s time to break camp and move on.

            • There are going to be times when we can’t wait for somebody. Now, you’re either on the bus or off the bus. If you’re on the bus, and you get left behind, then you’ll find it again. If you’re off the bus in the first place — then it won’t make a damn.

              Ken Kesey

            • JC

              Well, I respect your opinion, James. But i have no power over whether or not an occupation stays on site. I never thought that the courthouse lawn was an ideal place for an occupation, because i (and others) foresaw the problems that we now have.

              And I don’t really feel that we have worn out our welcome in the “village square” in Missoula. There is a certain segment of the town that will always think so, but we have good broad support in the community for what we are doing.

              But also, occupy isn’t a protest, or a sit down, or a march. It is by definition an “occupation,” which means to occupy. It is an enduring act of civil disobedience. And it is uncomfortable for many people.

              As to the issue of hijacking the commons, I think the quarter acre of courthouse lawn is actually a very small hijack compared to all of the other rent-seeking going on in the corporate world in general, and Missoula in particular. And the camp is willing to break and withdraw when things like the veterans day celebration occurred. unfortunately, the county took our good will as an opportunity to try and crack down on us.

              As to the law, we are in no real violation of law. We have been through this with the county. If we were, we would have been evicted on day 1. We have to comply with some basic health dept. standards, which we are doing.

              And I wouldn’t categorize occupy as “a campaign for social change”. It’s far beyond that. And the sorts of change that occupy wants (amend the constitution, i.e.) is not a simple campaign. It is potentially a decade long effort. It is structural change that occupy wants. And structural change does not lend itself to traditional social change campaigning. If it did, we wouldn’t be in the predicament we are in now.

              But you ask good questions, ones that all occupations are grappling with. But the answers to occupiers may not seem as readily cut and dry, and easy to implement as you find. One thing that I have found out about occupy is that there is a vast amount of mass that has been set in motion, and inertia is a potent force to try and change.

      • First of all, each time there is police repression of Occupy protesters, the movement grows almost exponentially. After the OWS encampment was demolished, three times as many people pledged to join.

        Second of all, Occupy is not a collection of social workers who are responsible for taking addicts, alcoholics and violent criminals to their bosoms and converting them into political activists by their acceptance of their dysfunction. We have to insist that all of us become responsible, whether that is alcoholics and dopers, or rapists, or congresspersons or the president. Anything is enabling, either drunkenness or slavish obedience to corporate demands are similar asocial behaviors.

        • Sorry, as I’m typing with my laptop on my knee. I managed to erase the word “else” in my “Anything else is enabling,” comment.

        • lizard19

          an encampment on the courthouse lawn is going to be forced into triage simply because of its location, and because no one else in this community wants to deal with the problem.

          St. Pats regularly let’s drunks walk away when EMT’s bring them in (if they even get that far). sure, it might be AMA (against medical advice), but they know the dregs of society don’t have a lot of advocates to bring the noise when they get treated like garbage.

          and the jail doesn’t want to deal with them, because a hardcore alcoholic deprived of booze in lockup is a medical liability.

          the Pov has only recently (about 3 years ago) amended its zero tolerance policy regarding intoxication during cold weather, because i would assume its staff have a hard time consigning someone to possible death because they’re chronic drunks.

          pancho, i don’t know how you would institute responsibility among those who are slowly killing themselves with booze. i don’t know what actions you may deem “enabling”, but what advice would you give to an “occupier” who sees a drunk unresponsive on the courthouse lawn, calls 9-1-1, only to see that same drunk hours later, in the same situation?

          • I would define “enabling” as giving spare change to a panhandler, sharing your space with a belligerent drunk or failing to mount a primary challenge to a Democrat in a safe seat who regularly votes against progressive legislation and for reactionary laws.

            A state senator introduced himself to me and a couple of other friends from organized labor, a few weeks ago at a Democratic function, as the party’s most recent gubernantorial candidate. I told him, I know who you are. I gave you $100, but after you were the only Democratic vote in the Senate to vote to retain the state’s death penalty, forcing a 20-20 split and killing the repeal bill, I decided it wasn’t worth working for your campaign. At worst you had a bully pulpit you chose not to use. If your opponent had been caught doing something really stupid or criminal, you might have had a chance. But you didn’t give progressives a reason to work for you, in lieu of casting such a consequential vote.

            He said that our state wasn’t like Texas, where defendants are provided with inept, often sleeping drunken counsel. I said that immensely expensive, ritual executions don’t make much sense anywhere.

            He asked if I voted for his opponent? I told him, “If I was driving him somewhere in a car with him as a passenger, I’d drive off a cliff.”

            If you see a drunk unresponsive at an Occupy gathering, call 911. If he shows up again in the same state, call again. That’s doing your civic duty.

            If you see a reactionary an unresponsive politician, find a candidate to oppose him or her. Even in a race where an incumbent can’t be expected to lose, someone needs to hold their feet to the fire. Show up at candidates’ nights and speak truth to power. Anything less is enabling.

            • lizard19

              yes, giving money to a panhandler can be seen as enabling.

              what about the guy who is helping set up camp by day, but can’t stay away from drinking. how do you accept his labor, then deny him shelter?

              for PR purposes, maintaining a zero tolerance for drinking makes sense. on the ground, it’s never that simple.

    • “…segueing into electoral politics?”

      Because electoral politics is corrupt to the core. When corporations claim human rights and can spend unlimited cash to buy elections, while the supreme court equates money with free speech, democracy is dead. One of the Berrigans said “If voting made a difference, it would be illegal.”

      In other words, our current system doesn’t work, and it is time to try something different.

  4. lizard19

    i have a lot of mixed feelings about this. obviously if cops are dropping off drunks, or steering drunks toward OccupyMissoula, with the intent of disrupting the encampment, that’s really underhanded, and creates safety issues that i would imagine, if something happened, could open the city up to litigation.

    but realistically, the courthouse lawn has been occupied territory for those on the margins of our society for awhile, and then along comes this occupation, creating a space to advocate for the 99%, but totally not equipped to deal with the difficult issues of addiction and mental illness.

    what folks at OM are figuring out is there are no easy solutions. last night’s sober occupier could be tomorrow night’s drunken crisis, and when it comes to someone with no where else to go, the encampment becomes just another place that the drunks and crazies are kicked out of.

    • JC

      There’s no “if” about it. One of our lawyers and many camp members witnessed the police doing this last night.

      But you are right on the money about the courthouse being “occupied territory” for quite a while. And while there are many people involved in the occupation who have been offering services onsite in a variety of ways (including counselors, psychiatric NP’s, clinical psychologists, recovery programs, etc) it is true that the encampment is not equipped in any substantial to deal with those problems onsite. We can educate, mediate and refer people to other services, but we are not a social agency or treatment program.

      But what we are doing, and will continue to do is to bring attention to the plight of “those on the margins of our society” in a way that will hopefully broaden the discussion in the greater Missoula community, which is where solutions to these problems ultimately will have to arise.

      OccupyMissoula is forming a workgroup to address these issues, and one of the first suggestions from a homeless occupier was a “mentoring program” where community members could “adopt” a homeless person and help them, one-on-one, get back on their feet, provide a role model and support system to assist, and guide them through the process of becoming productive members of society again. I found it quite empowering to be sitting in a meeting today with thirty people including homeless individuals, working people living in or near poverty, middle class, and wealthier individuals, old and young, having this discussion–the have’s listening to the have-nots proposing solutions to problems, and agreeing to take action. That is the power of Occupy in action.

  5. The university chancellor at Davis has apparently put her two pepper spraying cops on leave, the chief who lied and claimed the cops were “encircled” by protesters who were standing 50 feet away from the sitting kids, is still working. The head of the University System is calling for the Chancellor’s resignation and she’s refusing to do so.

  6. Chuck

    Can anyone tell me why after 2 months the management of a small amount of human waste is an unsolvable problem for Occupy Missoula?

    • Steve W

      Chuck, the pump don’t work cause the vandals took the handle.

    • JC

      We have a porta potty onsite. There is no problem for occupiers and visitors. But we do not control what others that are not connected with the encampment do. Are you suggesting that we turn into the town’s “pooper scoopers?” If so, we already have, and continue to do so.

  7. Steve

    Good comment. This should go on KECI site.

  8. Chuck

    JC,
    I know Missoula County taxpayers and the staff at the county are now handling the waste management needs of Occupy Missoula. As a county resident and taxpayer I’m fine with them stepping in with the Porta John when they felt they had to. My question above relates only to Occupy Missoula taking care of Occupy Missoula, not anyone else.

  9. Pogo Possum

    A little further reading on Taryn’s site gives another perspective of what happened. The police dropped the woman off at the Court House because the woman told police her brother was there. In response to the cries of police conspiracy (hating the local police seems to be a prerequisite for joining the Occupy movement), there is this:

    “BigBother said… I work for the Missoula PD (Civilian), and I would be surprised if this was anything but a coincidence. The Missoula County Courthouse lawn is the only ‘legal’ place downtown where these serial inebriates are allowed to loiter. The mentally ill drunks have been occupying the Courthouse lawn for the last couple of years, ever since the City Council began cracking down on loitering and public drunkenness in front of downtown businesses (the pedestrian interference law). The MPD decided to take a ‘hands off’ approach regarding the occupation, and I have heard that the downtown beat officer (Franke) has checked in with folks regarding the camp’s security, particularly after bar closing hours.”

    • JC

      “hating the local police seems to be a prerequisite for joining the Occupy movement”

      The moment you made this ridiculous accusation, everything else you had to say was meaningless.

      • Pogo Possum

        if the shoe fits, JC.

        • JC

          Don’t you make accusations that I’m a police hater, PoPo. You really show how out of touch you are with your community and with occupy. Just a display of your own ignorance.

          • Pogo Possum

            You sure had me fooled JC:

            JC…… “Take a look at the protests and accompanying police brutality, and it all begins to look familiar.”

            JC……”It’s no longer a police state. It’s a fascist state with the police and private security thugs protecting the bottom line for their corporate masters.”

            JC…… “We had police violence in the summer of 2000 when excessive force was used to disperse the public.”

            • JC

              Because I call out police abuse when it occurs doesn’t qualify me as a “police hater.”

              You can hate deed but not the doer.

              But it’s nice to know that the 1% has unequivocal support for police brutality and police taxiing drunks around town to public places to drop them off.

    • Pogo Possum

      To get back to the point “BigBrother” and I were trying to make before JC tried to divert the message…….when you pitch your tent in the middle of the Court House lawn, you are going to be subjected to the people and activities that have frequented the same space long before you showed up.

      • JC

        So you’re ok with police giving drunk and belligerent people rides downtown, after they picked them up for being disruptive elsewhere?

        And you don’t see a liability issue for the city with this, occupation or not?

        How about if the police officer had taken the belligerent drunk and deposited them on your street and that person came knocking on your door. What would you say then? What if the drunk had accosted a little old lady and did a purse snatch?

        It’s nice you’re standing up for the police. I just think your misplaced indignation might be better spent trying to figure out a better solution for what the police can do when they pick up a drunk for a confrontation elsewhere. I personally don’t think our police should be acting as a taxi for drunks to anywhere but a drunk tank or the hospital, or a (nonexistent) treatment facility. If they had a reason for being called in the first place, then they damn well better have a more workable solution than just dropping drunks off in public places.

        • Pogo Possum

          Here……read this again.

          “BigBother said… I work for the Missoula PD (Civilian), and I would be surprised if this was anything but a coincidence. The Missoula County Courthouse lawn is the only ‘legal’ place downtown where these serial inebriates are allowed to loiter. The mentally ill drunks have been occupying the Courthouse lawn for the last couple of years, ever since the City Council began cracking down on loitering and public drunkenness in front of downtown businesses (the pedestrian interference law). The MPD decided to take a ‘hands off’ approach regarding the occupation, and I have heard that the downtown beat officer (Franke) has checked in with folks regarding the camp’s security, particularly after bar closing hours.”

          The most exciting thing about the Missoula Occupy movement is that the Missoula left now has a better understanding of what the downtown business people have been complaining about for years.

          • JC

            Oh, have the downtown businesses complaining about the police dropping off drunks downtown in front of their businesses for years? Thanks. Didn’t know that. Thanks for the condescension.

            • Pogo Possum

              The “drunks” are part of the 99% JC. They are your brothers and sisters in the movement. Why are you showing hate towards them. You should embrace and welcome them into your camps just like you demand the downtown residents and business people should do instead of using an Orwellian “all are equal but some are more equal than others” excuse.

              Cowboy up.

              • JC

                Hate? No, I don’t hate drunks, far from it. I hate that people get drunk and hurt themselves and/or others. And yes, they are part of the 99%. That doesn’t mean that they get to create chaos or anarchy in camp and threaten people. And in case you haven’t been paying attention, lizard and I are in agreement that the encampment doesn’t have the resources or expertise to deal with drunks. And the camp’s agreement with the county is no drugs or alcohol in camp, and camp policy is no drunk or drugged people in camp.

                As to “welcoming them into your camp just like you demand the downtown residents and business people should do” nobody is demanding that businesses or residents allow drunks inside their doors. Just as the tent on the courthouse lawn we treat as a home and a business, we don’t want people coming in who are going to cause trouble.

                And there are no orwellian excuses going around. You’re just building strawmen so you have something to rail about.

              • Pogo Possum

                You are helping build a pretty big strawman yourself JC. The Occupy group is trying to use this trumped up conspiracy charge of Missoula police harassment to get sympathy. You pitched your tents in the middle of where the “drunks” and the “drugged people”, as you call them, have been gathering for years. Looks like you are invading “their” home, not the other way around.

                BigBrother says it rather well (and you haven’t refuted anything he said):

                “…..The Missoula County Courthouse lawn is the only ‘legal’ place downtown where these serial inebriates are allowed to loiter. The mentally ill drunks have been occupying the Courthouse lawn for the last couple of years, ever since the City Council began cracking down on loitering and public drunkenness in front of downtown businesses (the pedestrian interference law). The MPD decided to take a ‘hands off’ approach regarding the occupation, and I have heard that the downtown beat officer (Franke) has checked in with folks regarding the camp’s security, particularly after bar closing hours.”

                The police have treated the Occupy group well. You and many of the Missoula Occupy group are trying to create a police repression strawmay for your own gain.

  10. mr benson

    Thanks to Pogo Possum for the reality check. I’ve lived the communal living/ what’s yours is mine thing. Been there, done that. Always attracts the drunks, druggies and freeloaders. It’s no surprise it’s happening just this way.

    And once things turn tough, things turn violent. Inevitable in a place that doesn’t respect individual rights like the right to property.

    • Steve W

      That is about the lamest thing I’ve ever seen you write, mr benson. If what you suggest is true, the Hutterites would be famous for being drunks, druggies and freeloaders and be constantly engaging in violence, since they live communally.

      I see in the news today that it was the big mortgage lenders who didn’t care about the law and about individual rights like the right to property. They employed robo signers to do their dirty deeds. They have been getting away with it for too long. And most people (with a few exceptions, obviously) know it.

  11. jackruby

    I thought we could take the police at their word? At least that was what I took from the author of the thread a couple weeks ago when the missoula police claimed they acted properly in using stun guns on two griz players. So we trust the Missoula police when they arrest football players but they are to be distrusted when conspiring against occupy missoula. I kind of think they are generally full of shit on most things, although there are good individuals on the missoula PD.

    • Ryan Emmett Morton

      Jack: i said I didn’t think the police would lie about assault charges – not really the same situation here. I still think that’s true as the risks in lying about assault charges in a (for Missoula) high-profile case could do serious damage to their careers and such.

      Anyhoo, I have had positive – even empathetic – responses from the police in a variety of bad situations. Please forgive me, Jack. I’ll work on my anti-Missoula PD attitude just for you.

      Do police do bad even terrible things? Yes. Should it be reported? Absolutely. Punished? Absolutely. That doesn’t mean we should automatically through up the police conspiracy flag. I think this post and the discussion is (predominantly) a critical thinking examination of what the Occupiers witnessed – not stupid ranting against the police.

      • jackruby

        Institutionally they have problems. Examples date back to the hells angels ‘riots’ and the doctor who was abused filed a lawsuit against the city (after which all kinds of evidence ‘mysteriously’ vanished from police custody). There are good men and women on the force just like everywhere.
        All I meant to point out was that the same author (whose writing I enjoy) created this post that implies the missoula police are dishonest and not to be trusted but to believe the meme in her earlier post about the Griz football players it implicitly demands that we do trust the word of the very same police.

        It wasnt really directed at you Mr. Morton. You must have a guilty conscious about your bias against football players? :)

        • JC

          SPeaking of the hells angels “riots’, which I actually refer to as the missoula police riots…

          Well, somehow this showed up on YouTube yesterday:

        • Ryan Emmett Morton

          OMG! I’m so biased against football players! I watch them play all the time and I feel so guilty!… Leave my conscience (not conscious) out of your comments. You’re clearly a poor judge in that regard, Jack.

          Ok, so Hells Angels and the doc. That’s hardly an institutional problem… unlike season after season of student athletes breaking the law. Anyhoo…

          I still think everyone needs to be careful about arguing over “The Police.” Many officers exercise restraint, empathy, and protection daily without any fanfare or news. Those same officers also have to do things they are ordered to do as part of their job in very tense and highly charged events – like a suicide watch, protest, or gathering. OccupyMissoula tweeted an article about police brutality today that described this pretty well. Perhaps JC can repost.

          If the Missoula PD is dropping off people at the Occupy Camp, that needs to stop and those responsible punished. Beyond that, blind distrust of the police perpetuates the cycle of violence. Violence – Distrust – Anger -Violence…

          • jackruby

            I was just messing with Ryan, thats why i made the smiley thing. I know you are not “consciously” trying to discriminate against football players. :) Peace man.

  12. JC

    The Occupy group is trying to use this trumped up conspiracy charge of Missoula police harassment to get sympathy.

    No, we’re not. jhwygirl simply asked the question in this post. Asking a question does not imply that occupy is making that charge. And who wants sympathy? That’s ridiculous. We want accountably from our police department. And we want them to have good solutions for dealing with drunks in missoula.

    BigBrother says it rather well (and you haven’t refuted anything he said)

    SImple enough

    “…..The Missoula County Courthouse lawn is the only ‘legal’ place downtown where these serial inebriates are allowed to loiter.

    There is no ordinance in missoula making it “legal” to loiter drunk on the courthouse lawn. Strike one.

    The mentally ill drunks have been occupying the Courthouse lawn for the last couple of years, ever since the City Council began cracking down on loitering and public drunkenness in front of downtown businesses (the pedestrian interference law).

    “Mentally ill drunks” have been occupying public spaces since time immemorial. Typical city council response: move the problem out of sight of businesses so that their shoppers won’t be offended by what missoula is really hiding. Not to mention that the pedestrian interference law is unconstitutional in my and many other people’s views. Strike two.

    The MPD decided to take a ‘hands off’ approach regarding the occupation,

    “Decided to take a hands off approach”? Prove it. Where’s the decision. Occupiers have talked with the city and the county and they have admitted they have no legal avenue to remove the occupiers that wouldn’t bring civil suit against them for violating constitutional rights. strike three, you’re out mr BigBrother.

    The police have treated the Occupy group well. You and many of the Missoula Occupy group are trying to create a police repression strawmay for your own gain.

    NObody is claiming that local police have not treated the occupy group well.” Overall they have been very courteous and professional. We have complained about one incident that we think points to a larger problem in Missoula: that police lack effect tactics and resources to deal effectively with Missoula’s homeless, mentally ill, and drunk/addicted populations.

    What’s my gain? It’s the community’s gain when we start talking about the problems that people have been trying to shuffle into the dark corners and behind the shrubs of Missoula’s public places. It’s everybody’s gain when we talk about the plight of the homeless and ill, and try and find solutions. It’s everybody’s gain when we question police tactics that involve taxiing belligerent drunks from one part of town to another, simply shifting the problems around instead of dealing with it.

    What the police are doing providing taxi service for drunks in missoula shuffling problems around is wrong. It’s that simple. Missoula needs to find a solution.

    • BigBother

      You are correct JC. The problems we face regarding the mentally ill/ addicted homeless population in America is going to be a difficult one to solve. Law enforcement is not structured or equipped to deal with this issue on a long-term basis. Often, the County jail staff will refuse to accept extremely intoxicated individuals, and they end up at St. Patrick Hospital further taxing our overburdened health care system. Ironically, this issue is one of the many facets of the OWS movement. “A society is judged by how it treats the least among them.” As our military veterans (quite often damaged) return from America’s occupations of the Middle East to find no jobs, no compassion, and no hope, this problem will continue to grow.

  13. Max

    I was surprised to learn that there is a difference between the Occu-Puppies and the homeless. However, I am not sure if it is significant.

    • JC

      I guess it only is significant if you think that homeless people are lesser individuals than yourself. You’ve got a pretty big moral gap going here.

      fwiw, you might be surprised to find that your doctor or nurse, the fireman and teacher, the veteran, all walks of life you encounter comprise the occupy demographic.

      Heck, you might become homeless one day. WOUld it be significant if an occupier came up and offered a hand up to you?

    • I’d be surprised to find that there’s a difference in attitude or ethics between yourself and the banksters and corporatists who have ripped the public off for billions, save for that fact that you might not have a pot to piss in.

      • Max

        I did not realize this was one of those paranoid-schizophrenic leftwing blogs. I should have read more closely.

        I apologize for interrupting your therapy session.




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