‘F–k The Police’ group of teens undergoes a police pat down after holding up protest sign on Portland sidewalk

Picture this. A group of teenagers, spurred on by a feeling of civic duty to send a message to the men and women in uniform who defend their city, line up in front of a city government building in Portland, Oregon. They make a solemn pledge to their city and “act by themselves without official city association, and or permission” — a right protected by the First Amendment. These teenagers are dressed in black clothing. Their hands are covered with duct tape and strung from the tree branches that frame the building. The tape runs out of their hands as they write “F–k The Police” on the sidewalk, next to a sign that reads, “Protestful Walker.”

The students aren’t there to disrupt the work of city government, as a councilman says in a letter home to the parents of the teenagers that the people in the city don’t need another excuse for the city to be distracted with its own affairs, reports The Oregonian. But the councilman has nonetheless written to the mayor of Portland, calling on him to provide a “safe and appropriate environment” to the teenagers so they can exercise their right to assembly in a peaceful manner.

The teenager group emerged on Oct. 5 during a protest against the acquittal of police officer Nate Porter in the shooting death of Threlkeld Wallace on New Year’s Eve. Wallace’s family says that the 17-year-old had his hands up when Porter shot him in the back. Porter, who was using his gun as a weapon, has maintained that Wallace tried to grab his gun.

Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, told The Oregonian, “This was a small group who got together and exercised their constitutional rights. Unfortunately, they did it on a public sidewalk. That happens on public sidewalks everywhere. But when they did it on a public sidewalk in front of City Hall, I think that’s really bad, and it needs to stop.”

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