Eugene Pro Roe Protests Face Car Attacks, Armed Stalkers, and Targeted Arrests

Editor’s Note: James Croxton is also a researcher for the Chemical Weapons Research Center located in Portland, Oregon.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on June 27 10:15 a.m. to reflect injuries sustained by one of the protesters who was arrested.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on June 27 3:40 p.m. to include a response from the Springfield Police Department’s Public Information Coordinator.

On the morning of June 24, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a 6-3 conservative super-majority decision, voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

Almost immediately after the court’s decision was made public, people had begun to gather in front of the Federal Courthouse in Eugene ahead of a planned march at 5 p.m. organized by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. Another was held in Portland at the same time. 

Later in the evening, a smaller group of protesters—wearing black bloc—showed up at Dove Medical Center in Eugene where, earlier in the day, a dozen-or-so people boarded up their windows. Law enforcement officers from the Eugene Police Department, Springfield Police Department, University of Oregon Police Department, and Homeland Security exercised an egregious show-of-force in response.

The Mainstream Event

The small crowd that had gathered in front of the Federal Courthouse prior to noon reportedly said that they would stay until the 5 p.m. march

By 5 p.m., there were several hundred people already gathered in front of the courthouse. It didn’t take long for the crowd to grow to around 1,000-1,200 people, though. 

Countless people stand on the sidewalk across the street from the Federal Courthouse. One person in the front wearing a bright pink Thrasher shirt holds up an American Flag while another, next to him, holds a sign saying "we dissent"
Pro-reproductive rights protesters gather in front of the Federal Courthouse on June 24, 2022. [Chance Raffield // Double Sided Media]

On the stage, speakers including Planned Parenthood representatives, local politicians, and activists were mostly drowned-out by the chants and yells of those gathered on all four sides of the intersection of 8th and Coburg. 

Paris. wearing dark pants, a studded belt, and a black tank top speaks into the mic under a blue tent. Behind him is a banner that reads "our bodies, our futures, our abortions!"
Paris Woodward-Ganz—who would be arrested later in the night at another protest—speaks to the crowd of around 1,200 people who gathered in front of the Federal Courthouse on June 24, 2022. [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

At 6:30 p.m. Eugene Police Department officers on bicycles attempted to get protesters out of a closed lane and onto the grass. Doing so, they removed the traffic cones, opening the lane back up to traffic before quickly realizing that was a mistake and re-closed it, allowing protesters to return.

Shortly after this, the crowd spontaneously decided to march, snaking their way through downtown streets — followed, the entire time, by someone who appeared to be a Boogaloo Boi based on his attire. 

  • A hazy reflection off a window that shows about a dozen people, holding signs, match past.
  • A protester, wearing a plain white shirt, holds up a sign. The sign, their hands, arms, face, and torso are splattered in deep red paint, mimicking blood. Next to them is another protester wearing a grey tank top and grey shorts holding a sign that says "if my body isn't safe, neither is yours!" while holding a mic in another hand. They are chanting into a speaker.
  • A protester, wearing a plain white shirt, holds up a sign. The sign, their hands, arms, face, and torso are splattered in deep red paint, mimicking blood.
  • A young woman, wearing a blue denim cap, holds a white sign that reads "WE DESERVE A GOVERNMENT THAT CARES ABOUT ITS PEOPLE" as they march in front of a Eugene Police Department cruiser.

When asked by a Double Sided Media photographer who he was conversing with on a large radio, he responded “my guy, my guy.” Answering why he was there, the man stated “in case shit hits the fan.” 

Not doing much more than talking on the radio every once in a while, many in the crowd felt that he didn’t pose a threat. Instead, they were more focused on what can only be described as car attacks — and rightfully so. 

While marching, many people in the surrounding businesses and eateries showed their support.

Looking towards the inside of an eating establishment. There are people sitting in the patio directly outside and also inside. Many are clapping or have their arms raised. One woman, with white hair, and wearing a colorful floral blouse, looks at the camera with a fist in the air.
Patrons at an eating establishment along the route of the march cheer the pro-reproductive rights protesters as they pass by. [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

At 7:30 p.m., after the crowd had begun to march back towards where they started, a white Subaru Forester drove through the bicycle-riding corkers, narrowly missing one of them. 

Just over 10 minutes later, a man riding a motorcycle rode down the closed lane and into the crowd that, at this point, had gathered in the intersection. In the process, many of the protesters attempted to pull him off his motorcycle and were unsuccessful. 

A man, riding a Black and red Harley Davidson motorcyle, rides through the crowd as people yell at him. THere are many people around and, in the distance, a person holding a sign that says "we are ovary-acting"
A man riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle rides through the crowd of people gathered for the pro-reproductive rights protest in front of the Federal Courthouse on June 24, 2022. [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

Then, less than three minutes later, someone driving what appears to be a dark Nissan Versa hatchback drove directly into protesters blocking the road. Seconds later, an EPD truck that was parked in the Whole Foods parking lot turned on their lights and sirens and went after the driver. 

Shortly after, around 7:50 p.m., the protest officially ended and the remaining crowd of around 500-800 left in groups. 

Direct Action

The official event ended just prior to 8 p.m. and those that had gathered for the more “mainstream” event went home for the night while others either didn’t show up, or did, and rested at home before the direct action at 10 p.m.

Named the “Night of Rage,” the direct action flyer called for people to “bloc up” and “bring your comrades” to Dove Medical Center, located at 11th and Ferry St., at 10 p.m. Earlier in the day, around 1 p.m., people—likely aware of the flyer—started boarding-up the windows of the building.  

By 10 p.m., a small group of around 30 protesters—most in black bloc—had gathered across the street from the clinic on the sidewalk in front of the Oregon Community Credit Union. 

In front of the clinic, two security guards stood watch from the sidewalk. 

Fifteen minutes later, as protesters crossed the street to stand on the sidewalk directly in front of the clinic, six Eugene Police Department vehicles arrived and officers began to arm themselves with batons and less lethal munition launchers. Their drones had already been flying above for a little while.

Around this same time, people in the crowd began to point out that the Boogaloo Boi-type man from earlier in the day was back again — but this time open carrying an AR-15. 

  • A man, wearing a hat, american flag gator, tactical vest, and camo pants, has an AR-15 strapped across his chest. He's holding up his phone and recording the protest. He's behind the line of police.
  • A man, wearing a hat, american flag gator, tactical vest, and camo pants, has an AR-15 strapped across his chest. He's holding up his phone and recording the protest. He's behind the line of police.

When one of the protesters asked if a police officer could be positioned near the man so the crowd would feel safer, an officer responded by saying that he was more concerned about the “people across the street wearing gas masks.” 

Later, it was reported by a few protesters that he had identified himself as a Three-Percenter when speaking with them. 

Just after 11 p.m., EPD began using their Long Range Audio Device, also known as an LRAD, to issue countless warnings that the protesters were “impeding traffic” and needed to get out of the street. Instead, protesters began to direct traffic through until EPD closed off the street a couple of blocks away. 

  • At least 5 officers, mostly just wearing helmets in terms of tactical gear, stand in a very wonky line in front of the medical clinic. In front of them, aare two EPD vehicles in the road, blocking traffic if any were to use it.
  • At least 10 officers, mostly just wearing helmets in terms of tactical gear, stand in a very wonky line in front of the medical clinic. To the left, at least three EPD vehicles can be seen in the road, blocking traffic if any were to use it.

The standoff slightly escalated a few minutes later when someone threw a lit firework that landed behind the line of officers. 

Around 11:30 p.m, the first of at least five to seven arrests occurred. 

Forty-five minutes later, with the crowd actually getting bigger, the Springfield Police Department arrived, fully outfitted in their crowd control gear. When they did, many people in the crowd immediately noted how the situation was likely going to get violent since SPD has shown such a proclivity for doing so before.

A line of five Springfield Police Department officers in full tactical gear walk past a building and a Eugene police vehicle towards protesters.
Officers with the Springfield Police Department, in full tactical gear, arrive form a line and walk towards the pro-reproductive rights protesters in front of Dove Medical Clinic, in Eugene, on June 25, 2020. [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

As soon as the line of SPD officers got to the protesters, an officer jabbed Amanda Becker-Henske—a well-known local activist and medic who often drove at the front of protests throughout 2020 and 2021—directly in the sternum with a baton. 

  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, holds her arms up before being jabbed with a baton.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, holds her arms up before being jabbed with a baton.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, holds her arms up before being jabbed with a baton.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, flinches in pain while being jabbed with a baton.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, flinches in pain while being jabbed with a baton.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, flinches in pain while being jabbed with a baton.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, flinches in pain while being jabbed with a baton.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, flinches in pain while being jabbed with a baton.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, flinches in pain while being jabbed with a baton.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, flinches in pain while being jabbed with a baton. Officer Bragg's arm can be seen striking the right side of her upper torso near her head.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, flinches in pain while being jabbed with a baton.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, flinches in pain, and leans over to her left, while being jabbed with a baton.
  • Becker-Henske, wearing a helmet and goggles on her head, flinches in pain while being jabbed with a baton. Another protester to her left put their arm on the officers arm trying to diffuse the situation.

Following the incident,  Becker-Henske began, through immense pain, to question an officer about what happened. The officer immediately said that “you can leave and it won’t happen again.” As a nurse, she explained that such a blow to the sternum could cause cardiac failure to which the officer shook his head repeatedly before walking away.

Those who witnessed what had happened identified the officer by the number on the back of his helmet, “380,” as Brian Bragg who is one of the accused violent officers in Black Unity’s lawsuit against SPD following the events of July 29, 2020. Bragg, according to the lawsuit, “enforced the barricade at 67th and Dogwood; struck protestors; assisted in the arrest and unlawful use of force against [Tyshawn Ford, a Black Unity organizer].”

In a statement to Double Sided Media, on June 27, SPD’s Public Information Coordinator Zak Gosa-Lewis responded to questions about the department’s request to help and about Bragg’s deployment that night while still involved in an ongoing lawsuit regarding excessive force.

According to their statement, “SPD officers filled support needs by responding to calls for service within the city of Eugene, while other officers with advanced crowd control training responded to the ongoing EPD response to the large crowd gathered at 11th & Ferry Street in Eugene.”

About Officer Bragg, they said that “SPD takes complaints of allegations of excessive force very seriously,” the statement said. “If allegations of misconduct are received from any community member the department investigates the complaint thoroughly.”

Brian Bragg, a Springfield Police officer, looks on. He's wearing a tactical helment, vest, and his name can be seen on his chest.
Springfield Police Officer Brian Bragg looks on towards the pro-reproductive rights protesters on June 24, 2022. Officer Bragg is involved in a current lawsuit by Black Unity against the police department. [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

At 12:30 a.m., EPD and SPD formed a unified line and, again, pushed protesters back off of 11th and onto Ferry St. In response, about a dozen protesters—including Paris Woodward-Ganz who spoke at the day’s earlier event—locked arms, moved closer, and engaged in a peaceful standoff with the line of riot gear-clad officers. 

Just before 12:50 a.m., the officers—instigated by SPD—rushed forward to break up the line of protesters. Woodward-Ganz was, as witnessed, singled-out for arrest. While brutalizing the protesters on the crowd, dog-piling on top of a few of them, the sound of what was believed to be a PepperBall launcher was observed being deployed at nearly point-blank range towards someone who was already on the ground. 

At least three arrests occurred in this one instance. 

Around 1 a.m., a young white protester decided to peacefully confront the police line. He got off the sidewalk back onto Ferry St. and stood in the crosswalk facing them. Aware of his cis-white privilege, he started to yell back towards the crowd asking why he was allowed to stand there but nobody else was. Repeatedly, people replied back that it was because of his privilege to which he gladly affirmed while looking at the officers, just feet away. 

After a few minutes, the officers advanced, again, and arrested him along with at least one other person.

A half hour later, as police officers began to leave in small groups, two University of Oregon Police Department cruisers arrived followed by a pickup truck with numerous large flags flying from its tailgate, including at least one Gadsden Flag.

At approximately 1:40 a.m., SPD left the area, leaving EPD officers and those with the Department of Homeland Security to do so themselves about five minutes later. Some EPD officers, however, stayed on the corner in front of the clinic as protesters dispersed in groups around 1:50 a.m.

Double Sided Media has reached out to SPD’s Community Engagement Officer and has not received a response as of press time. We will update this article when we have received more information.

During the protest, several of the protesters suffered injuries due to police’s less lethal munitions.

“Less Lethal” Munitions

One protester, who asked not to be named, was shot with PepperBalls while on the ground. As a result, they not only had talc residue—which is a known carcinogen—on their pants leg but had also immediately formed a bruise on the left-side of their abdomen.

Later in the day, their one bruise became two very large welts — a common result of PepperBalls which act much like paint balls in regard to direct contact. The protester later told Double Sided Media that “the three pops you hear in your video is the first arrest are the three balls fired point-blank range at my midriff after I’d already been shoved into the ivy and kicked repeatedly.”

  • A bright red and black bruise about two inches long and an inch wide can be seen on the left side abdomen of one of the protesters.
  • A woman's abdomen showing two large, purple/red welts with visible centers on the top and right side of their naval.

On June 26, Double Sided Media received word of Paris Woodward-Ganz’s injuries following his targeted arrest.

According to him, “[the doctors] told me I have: several surfaces scrapes (forehead, hands, and knees), bruised ribs, and knees, a concussion, a lip that was nearly bitten off due to force, and a fractured shoulder.”

EPD’s Statement

Just before 9 a.m., on June 25, EPD released a statement—where they confirmed the use of Inert PepperBalls—which, in part, said “one female had a chemical pump sprayer and she was pumping it up.”

A clear semi-sphere piece of plastic that's straight edge is rough.
The “clear” half of an Inert PepperBall that was recovered from the area where the mass arrest was made in front of Dove Medical Clinic on June 25, 2022. [James Croxton // Double Sided Media]

Amanda Becker-Henske was said “female” with a “chemical pump sprayer” and publicly commented on their statement posted to Facebook.

  • A Facebook reply. It reads: "As the female with the 'chemical sprayer' that i drank from... it was water for eye wash station. Did not need SPD to come back up a peaceful protest. I even directed traffic. Im a medic was there with my backpack full of gloves, masks, bandages cause i know what police do. I got hot 2 times, once in the sternum, by the butt end of a baton while obeying EPd order to be on the sidewalk. Yall called SPD in to smash heads. They did that upon arrival."
  • A reply that said "Oh and dont forget point blank range shoting a female in the stomach with balls as she was on her back hand yp cause yall pusher her down

By 2 p.m. the next day, all ten protesters who were arrested had been released and the talc residue from the PepperBalls remained on Ferry Street.

A photograph of the asphalt on Ferry Street shows two distinc places of PepperBall impact with "splatter" going outwarsds. In the middle of it is the shadow of the street sign.
Talc residue from Inert PepperBalls remain on Ferry Street on June 25, 2022 after a pro-reproductive rights protest in front of Dove Medical Clinic the night prior. [James Croxton // Double Sided Media]

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1 Response

  1. Crow Bolt says:

    Thanks for reporting on this! Great pictures and narrative!

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