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Black Unity Activist Hit By Vehicle During A Children’s Protest

Melorie Begay/KLCC

A Black Unity activist, Isiah Wagoner, was hit by a driver with a vehicle on Sunday during a children’s protest in Eugene. He was taken by medics and treated for non-life threatening injuries at a nearby hospital. The Eugene Police Department says they've detained the suspect involved in the incident.


This story has been updated.

A group of protesters with Black Unity say they followed the driver to the Rivers Edge Townhome Apartment complex, where the Eugene Police Department arrived and later detained Travis Paul Waleri.

Outside the residence, a group of about 20 protesters watched as several officers, wearing tactical vests, escorted the handcuffed suspect to a police car. A move, Tyshawn Ford, a member of Black Unity, says was done to protect Waleri and not the group.


Black Unity has called for defunding the Eugene Police Department, however in the past they have stated they do not want the department to be completely defunded, rather they want most funds to be diverted to other services.


Ford says the group did more investigative work than EPD to find Waleri. Ford says while the group was able to follow the vehicle to the parking lot of the apartment complex, Waleri had already vacated their vehicle.


While EPD was conducting interviews, members of the group photographed a piece of mail left inside the suspects vehicle. They then zoomed in on the photo to find the drivers' address, said Ford.


“We already knew the police weren’t going to do anything, it was a no brainer. We knew from calling them, but we had to call an ambulance for Isiah,” Ford said. He added police officers took too long to take action.

Black Unity organized and promoted Sunday's children's march on their Instagram account as "an opportunity to teach your kids how they can help fight for change." Video of the event, from the same account, shows young children singing "This Little Light of Mine" and holding signs while marching.


Ford says marchers were making their way through the neighborhood when a car driving 30-40 miles-per-hour came around a Roundabout. He says Wagoner tried to step in front to protect marchers.

“[The driver] sped up, and hit Isiah in his side area and broke the megaphone,” Ford said.


Around 200 protesters gathered outside the Lane County Jail in the evening and called for justice for Wagoner. Wagoner was awake and had been communicating with organizers. 

“The fact that it could’ve been Isiah’s name that we're saying at a march tomorrow is just ridiculous,” Ford said.


Wagoner has become a prominent figure at protests for advocating for peace and deescalating situations. 

In a release from EPD spokesperson Melinda McLaughlin on Monday, Travis Paul Waleri was identified as the driver. Officers detained Waleri for questioning, but EPD did not make an arrest.


EPD’s Major Collision Team and Special Investigations Unit are overseeing an investigation on the collision and are asking the public for footage of the moment Wagoner was struck by a vehicle. They say witnesses have given "conflicting accounts" of both the vehicle involved and what occurred on North Adams and Clark Street.


EPD has provided the following number for inviduals who may have video footage: 1-541-262-5388


This is a developing story and was last updated to include EPD's current investigation 1:00 p.m June 29.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated Waleri was arrested. He was detained, not arrested.



Copyright 2020 KLCC



Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.
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