We have confirmed reports of law enforcement visiting people’s homes, as well as lots of rumors about this sort of repression happening around Portland. First and foremost: DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. Just don’t talk. It is the safest approach for yourself, your friends and comrades, and the community.
Before you share information, confirm that information is accurate. Check in with the person who sent you the information and find out where they got it, along with who gave it to them. If their information was not based on a direct experience by that person, ask them what they know about their source for that information and if they can confirm how true it is. If you cannot confirm the information OR you cannot confirm it in a timely manner, make a note when you share that this information has NOT been confirmed. Let people know that it may end up not being true. Encourage other people who share your posts to do the same thing. Misinformation is a common tactic the police use to sow fear and panic amongst people. Also sometimes, people just hear things wrong or misunderstand what has been shared and spread something that is not fully accurate. We are safest when we spread calm amongst each other and support each other even when we make mistakes.
Since we know the police are actively investigating incidents from protests, here are some steps you can take prepare yourself in the event that the police visit you at your home or stop you on the street:
- Talk to your housemates, partners, lovers, or anyone else whose home you spend significant time at about what could happen. For example, talk through a police visitation, your arrest, or a subpoena to a grand jury, along with what your friends and family should do if the state shows up to talk to them.
- Leave a poster or sticker or note by the door reminding yourself and others that you do not need to open the door to the police and that if questioned you should say “I will be remaining silent. I want to speak to a lawyer.”
- It is possible the state may visit your family or your work. As an organization or group of friends, talk about how this might impact you and others in your organization or friend group and make a plan for how you want to address this with your family and/ or work.
- Make a support plan that addresses these questions: what do you need in terms of mental, emotional and material support when you are faced with a crisis? What would you need if you got arrested? What would you need if you went to jail for an extended period?
- Set up a system with your organization or group of friends to communicate quickly with each other in the event of a visitation, arrest, or subpoena.
If police visit your home, here are some steps to protect yourself and others:
- Don’t answer the door. Unless they have a warrant, you do not have to open the door.
- If the cops come to your door with a legitimate arrest warrant, you may want to step outside your door as quickly as possible and lock your house behind you. If the cops come inside to get you, they can (and will) search.
- If law enforcement has a search warrant, read the warrant before letting them in (they can put it under the door) and look at what it is they can actually take.
- At home with anyone you live with, practice asking who is at the door before you open it. Do not open the door until you know who is behind the door. Keep any exterior doors locked at all times. if the door is not locked, the police can walk in.
- These guidelines can apply to any physical space you are in.