"Jessica" and I were meeting at Red Robin (RR) Lloyd Center for dinner tonight... when we both parked in the Denny's(tm) parking lot adjacent to RR, and alongside 3 police cars. **Note, RR only has 12 parking spots in total for their customers. We parked in spots with "ambiguous tow signs" and thought we may be in the RR lot. A sign on the front door warned of illegal parking, as did a flier on our dinner table, as did the hostess at the front door... so we promptly moved our cars, not wanting a ticket or to be towed.
"Jessica" had to park ~2 blocks away and walk by herself in a less-than-great neighborhood to the restaurant. I parked ~3 blocks away and did the same.
Upon re-entering the restaurant, we noticed a large group of Gresham police eating around the table. This rubbed me the wrong way... if anyone shouldn't have walked alone to the restaurant, it was Jessica!
So, I went outside to videotape them parked illegally and while doing so was approached by an officer from inside the restaurant; he threatened to arrest me, confiscate my phone and cite me for illegally recording audio without his permission.
* see: http://media.portland.indymedia.org/media/2008/12/383133.pdf
The officer then asked me to follow him, and as we walked inside RR he reminded me about how he gets shot at daily, how his family is threatened routinely and how he deals with "gang bangers" hourly. I kindly informed him how much I appreciate him service, but I still didn't think it was right of them to knowingly park illegally.
The officer asked me to follow him inside Red Robin where he asked his Sergeant to step outside and have a word with me. I was again threatened with arrest, confiscation, etc.
My two points of contention are as follows:
1) Police are not above the law... and they should have to abide by the same rules & regulations as we do... if for nothing more (on private property), to set an example to law-abiding citizens
2) If the towing company would have towed these vehicles (which they could have because the Police were clearly not responding to a call), it would be taxpayer money bailing out the cars. In addition to the financial implications to taxpayers, it would have taken 5 seemingly capable Police officers off the streets for many hours, where they would otherwise be "catching drug dealers & gang bangers" - as they put it.
About me: I have a career, a college education and have never had a run-in with the law. I neither seek confrontation nor provoke animosity with law officers. I have a great deal of respect for anyone who serves our country, and I do believe that all people, whether public servants or otherwise should be moral and upstanding in character. These officers should not have parked here... simply put; and the officer should not have threatened to arrest me for something that is clearly legal.