Multiple-agency response needed for downtown civil unrest
Pepperballs used for crowd control; 10 arrested in five-hour protest
by Eugene Police Department
On June 24, Eugene Police began receiving reports of a group publicizing on social media for people to come to a “Night of Rage” in the wake of an opinion by the Supreme Court of the United States, Dobbs v. Jackson (related to Roe v. Wade). The group’s stated meeting point was Dove Medical Center, 487 E. 11th Avenue, for around 10 p.m..
Due to the potential for property damage toward a business located in Eugene, as well as the general safety and security of the other businesses and residents downtown, Eugene Police monitored the situation.
Around 9:21 p.m. people began arrived to the area wearing all black clothing with masks and hoods. Many also had backpacks that appeared to contain unknown objects. The crowd started growing and moved toward the medical building.
Eugene Police’s Mobile Response Team arrived in the area to block the building using its vehicles and officers to surround the building. The crowd continued to grow and began blocking E. 11th Avenue by standing in the roadway. Some people were observed picking up rocks and several began putting on gas masks. One female had a chemical pump sprayer and she was pumping it up. Additional EPD Patrol resources were called in.
An officer used a public address system to admonish the group of more than 75 people that they were committing disorderly conduct and were subject to arrest. This had no effect on the crowd and they advanced closer to officers. Unknown people in the crowd threw smoke bombs at officers along with several filled water bottles.
EPD’s Crisis Negotiation Team eventually used their sound truck, which has an LRAD system on their truck, to provide louder volumes to the admonishments so those could be hear over the crowd noise.
Those who remained in the roadway were subject to arrest. The crowd did not comply. After the first arrest, the crowd became extremely loud and verbally hostile toward the officers and tried to get through the line. EPD called in additional resources including Springfield Police Department and Department of Homeland Security.
The incident forced EPD’s operations to go into what is termed ‘priority calls,’ where much of the rest of the community’s individual calls for service, if they are not immediate life-safety emergencies, to be placed on hold or not responded to. Springfield Police provided mutual aid for priority one calls.
At one point, the crowd moved to the roadway at Ferry Street Bridge, which is an essential route for medical and fire personnel to local hospitals. Blocking it creates a dangerous life and safety issue for all residents and visitors to Eugene. Eugene Police provided more admonishments and arrests were made, with people fighting with officers and not complying with lawful orders, leading to inert pepperballs (pepper balls with no chemical munitions) being deployed in a few cases at people’s feet and legs. At that point the crowd size decreased.
Some officers suffered minor injuries during the event, which lasted about five hours.
Eight persons were arrested for Disorderly Conduct, one person for Harassment, and one person for Disorderly Conduct, Escape in the Third Degree, and Resisting Arrest.