When we last left the boiling kettle of discontent that sits on the Port of Longview's EGT grain terminal, the intrepid workers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 21 had themselves in a pickle.
It seemed that three of them had just got themselves arrested after a rather violent "storming" of the port, with one managing to get on national television inventing new ways to use the terms "cock" and "fuck."
Now the union is attempting to turn the corner and take the fight elsewhere.
Namely, the courtroom.
The ILWU filed a civil-rights lawsuit in federal court on Thursday, alleging that police have used violent and intimidating tactics in responding to the ongoing protests.
In a statement put on its website, the union laid out the major accusations in the suit.
--arresting and jailing members for non-violent misdemeanor citations that ordinarily do not merit arrest let alone jail;
--acting with aggression, brutality and force when arresting members for non-violent misdemeanors without probable cause for such force and without having a reasonable suspicion that the members or supporters posed an immediate or credible threat or injury to law enforcement or any other person;
--refusing to arrest members when they voluntarily presented themselves for arrest and instead insisting on arresting them in surprise visits to their homes or in "made-for-television" style scenes;
--engaging in almost constant open and obvious surveillance of the ILWU Local 21 union hall;
--following and roughing up individuals wearing clothes bearing the ILWU name or logo and/or driving vehicles marked with the ILWU name or logo;
--shining bright lights into union members' homes for hours at a time late at night;
--following and conducting surveillance of union members and officials in their homes.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office isn't commenting on the suit yet, other than to dispute any charges of excessive force.
Whatever the case, this whole affair is likely to only get nastier.