“Abolish The Police” march faces confrontation

Content Warning: There is a considerable amount of profanity in this article.

On May 2, an “Abolish The Police” march organized by Trish Lipton with Black Unity in support went from Alton Baker Park to the Eugene Police Department’s headquarters off Country Club Road beginning around 4:30 p.m. 

Not long after the crowd began marching, they stopped in an intersection for speeches and to chalk the road. A silver pickup truck tried to drive through the crowd but was stopped, and turned around. 

A handful of protesters and members of the bike safety crew hold-off a silver Dodge Ram pickup truck from going further into the crowd. [Chance Raffield // Double Sided Media] 

The group continued on, and almost immediately after arriving in the parking lot of the police station, a bald, bearded man holding what looked like a stuffed pink flamingo began yelling at the crowd from behind a parked car. 

At the police station with his wife and daughter in a separate vehicle, he grew frustrated at the parking driveway being blocked. “We have no problem with your cause, but you will not be getting in my way,” he said before walking angrily towards the crowd.  

After yelling at the crowd some more, and flipping them off, he said “fuck you, you fucking racist fucking assholes, fuck off,” before getting in his car — but not before standing on the door sill of his Dodge Ram and yelling “fuck you” once more to the crowd. 

A man who was parked in the Eugene Police Department’s parking lot flips off the crowd of protesters. 
[Photographer: Robert Scherle]

Sitting in his truck, the tensions between him and the crowd grew stronger and he furiously exited it and rushed towards the group’s vehicles in the back, blocking the driveway. His wife, blocked by the cars, then began recording on her cellphone. 

At one point, he yelled for the EPD officers—notably in riot gear—that were outside to “come here.” They did, and he proceeded to yell at them only inches away from their face shields. A person with the march then commented on his white privilege and how he was able to yell in the cops’ face with no repercussion. It then took two officers and physical pushing with a baton to get him back into the truck. He yelled “fuck you, pigs,” as he left.

A man who was parked in the Eugene Police Department’s parking lot angrily yells at EPD officers in riot gear. 
[Chance Raffield // Double Sided Media]

A full video of the altercation can be found here

Nona Joy, a 16-year-old activist affiliated with BU and junior in high school, spoke to the crowd in the parking lot about the three individuals that died in 2019 at the hands, or in the presence, of EPD officers. 

Nona Joy speaks to the crowd. [Chance Raffield // Double Sided Media]

The first person mentioned was Eliborio Rodriguez Jr., who was shot and killed by now former-Officer Samuel Tykol on Nov. 30. Rodriguez Jr., who had been illegally stopped and arrested by the University of Oregon Police Department in October 2018, was reportedly collecting cans and bottles for recycling when he was killed. 

Next was Charlie Landeros, a veteran and well-known community activist. Landeros was shot and killed by Officer Steve Timm during an altercation with him and Officer Aaron Johns while attempting to pick up their daughter from her elementary school. 

Lastly, Michael Sanchez’s name was mentioned. Sanchez, who was experiencing a mental health crisis, allegedly, while handcuffed, strangled himself with a seatbelt in the back of Officer Carlos M. Jones’ patrol car. His sister has since filed a federal civil rights lawsuit

Joy then read a statement on behalf of Jay St. James: 

“I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t invite the police into my life when I called CAHOOTS. I didn’t ask for any sexual contact with [EPD Officer] Christopher Drumm, I didn’t ask to be raped by a gun-wielding, murdering police officer, and I never gave permission or asked to be outed as Christopher Drumms last victim.

I asked for insulation and protection at the time that my family was terrorized by EPD and I’ve asked for space in your community. I screamed pretty loud for it for 5 years of my children’s short lives. Had I found it sooner, I would be there today still organizing for others and imagining I’m an unknown persona.

It wasn’t until my arrest that I found out I had any belonging in this community and it was also then when I instantly found some of that insulation and protection that’s kept me alive.

If you’ve never seen the depth that Eugene police and Lane County have gone to politically suppress local activists before, please understand that I have good connections outside this community, I have a tiny bit of money in my pocket, and I have a very big mouth that has kept me alive.

Nothing in that Vice article was based on my statement alone. Vice followed everything in real time and knows that I have never stated that I do not intend to testify and watch Christopher Drumm be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law he loves and chooses to enforce on others. 

Everything in that Vice article was based on primary source evidence, the reporters and legal team independently viewing the text messages, police reports, speaking to the lawyers involved, interviewing [EPD Chief] Christopher Skinner, Christopher Drumm, reaching out to the district attorney’s office, AND making several in-person trips From California to Eugene over an 8-month period of time. 

Legal was involved the entire way, all around.

Christopher Drumm was reached at his new job at the police union or police association or whatever Eugene has going on for rapist cops BTW….

It is actually that horrifying and Vice is politely and legally toeing the line. The story was a Top 3 trending news story on Twitter for multiple days. We have to reframe this from just a bad day for white supremacist society and look at it as the genocidal targeting it is. Lane County’s government is this, but so many of its residents are not. We are the many, they are the few.

The many do not embolden a corrupt few.”

Before the march left the police station and returned to Alton Baker Park, a decal on the back window of a silver Dodge Grand Caravan in the parking lot drew the attention of many in the crowd. 

A runic symbol closely related to the Waffen-SS and, currently, the National Socialist Movement was seen on a silver Dodge Grand Caravan parked in the Eugene Police Department’s parking lot. [Photographer: Robert Scherle]

The decal, an Othala rune, was used by the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division “Prinz Eugen,” the Waffen-SS’ mountain infantry division that was present in occupied Yugoslavia from 1942 to 1945. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the symbol, “Is part of several runic alphabet systems that were common in pre-Roman Europe. The Nazis adopted this rune, among others, into their symbology, causing it to be a favorite symbol among white supremacists ever since.”Since 2016, the National Socialist Movement, the country’s longest standing and foremost Neo-Nazi group since its founding in the early 2000s, uses the rune as part of its flag. Most recently, the symbol made its way into the mainstream news by being used as the stage design for this years’ Conservative Political Action Conference.

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