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