“Don’t Choke ‘Em, Smoke ‘Em” : Lloyd “Tony” Stevenson and the Long Reach of History in “Post-Racial” Portland Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/k930c014r

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  • Despite Portland’s progressive reputation, the response of city officials, police officers, and the community as a whole to the killing of the black man, Lloyd Stevenson, in 1985 at the hands of Portland police, demonstrates that the long racially discriminatory history of Oregon shaped public policy and popular thought about race and crime. Besides its foundation in a state set aside to be a “white haven”, Portland also followed national trends that supported racial discrimination; such as, the long history of criminalization of African Americans, housing inequality, and increased policing of minority neighborhoods. The Stevenson case offers insight into the complicated intersection between Portland’s liberal ideals and its statewide anti-black entrenchment, especially regarding its police force and African American community relations. The non-response, excluding legal culpability concerns, of city and police officials indicate a lack of racial justice in an era when racial inequality was supposedly a problem of the past. Key Words: African American, police, Portland, discrimination, brutality
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