PORTLAND, Ore. – A tricycle is becoming the symbol of a recent clash between police and protesters.
Dan Kaufman said he was videotaping a protest in Downtown Portland Wednesday when police seized his camera and modified tricycle, known as the “Disco Trike.” The adult-sized tricycle has video and sound equipment mounted on it – equipment Kaufman said he needs to make a living.
“I look up at the mounted officer, said ‘what do you want me to do?’ He says ‘stand up, grow up and put your hands behind your back,’” Kaufman said.
Police impounded the Disco Trike and said they are holding it as evidence. Kaufman got his camera back, but said he lost a $170 battery during the incident. He was cited for unlawful operation of sound producing equipment.
“The Disco Trike was born free. It needs to live free,” said Kaufman.
A campaign is underway to free the Disco Trike. Fans told KATU News the tricycle is more than just 3 wheels.
“In a lot of ways the trike is symbolic like any political prisoner,” said Joe O’Neill. “It’s not the person or in this case it’s the object which is the bike, it’s more about the symbol or message behind it.”
Kaufman said he filed a complaint with police. Supporters are planning a bike swarm if the Disco Trike and its audio gear are not released by Friday.
“When there’s a threat from a disco-producing tricycle and video camera in protesters’ hands and they are both basically shut down, then free speech is being shut down,” said Kaufman.