“Pepper Spray Chick” Liz Nichols either has a lot of money or she is the lucky recipient of free legal help. How else to explain her decision to bring her case against Portland Police even after her swing-and-a-miss in State Court? Whiffing against the bigs–Tilting at Windmills–can be noble. But this case? This case was just plain dumb.
Pepper Spray Chick Liz was part of a phalanx of Occupy types who planned to storm downtown Portland banks on November 17, 2011–“N17”. They planned to do what they’d done before: intimidate, frighten and threaten workers at Chase Bank, toss feces or throw Molotov cocktails. They’d done it all before.
But Occupiers kept pushing the line of riot-gear-outfitted-cops toward the wall of the bank. Their backs were nearly against the wall of the bank and their options of getting out safely were diminishing. It was getting to be a logistical problem.
Enter the cops little ice cream truck. Well, it’s not really an ice cream truck, it’s a little white truck outfitted with a huge speaker that reminds you of an ice cream truck. The large speaker affixed to the top of the truck blares whatever message the cops need you to hear. You have to not want to hear it to, uh, not hear it.
Even in the midst of the melee, a person I know who was recording the event said it was easy to hear the truck speaker above the crowds. The speaker told the crowds to step away from the cops and the bank and to stay out of the street.
But even as they advanced at the cops trying to storm the bank, Occupiers chanted “peaceful, peaceful, peaceful” as if the mere act of saying the word sprinkled fairy dust on their aggressive actions and poof! made them ‘peaceful.’
The jury of three men and four women didn’t buy it, either, finding the two officers involved not guilty of excessive force in land speed record time. After the nearly five day trial, the jury got the case on Friday afternoon and managed to acquit the officers in short order later Friday afternoon.
Nichols was looking for a $30,000 payday, saying the incident gave her nightmares and exacerbated her eczema.
She didn’t get it.
Her attorney said he was sorry they didn’t win because people need to “feel safe going downtown, coming and bringing their families and not being the victims of pepper spray.”
He must think we all forget what it was like during Occupy and how people didn’t want to bring their families to downtown Portland and were afraid of being victims of the anarchists wielding things much worse than pepper spray.
Victoria Taft is a wife, mother, blogger, radio talk show host and entrepreneur and is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.