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Anti-Brown Gathering Prompts Questions Over SPD's Oversight


A crowd protesting Governor Brown’s two-week “freeze” gathered in Springfield this Saturday. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, concerns were raised over how the police responded to the crowd’s lack of pandemic protocols. 

In a tip sent to KLCC, photos of the “Stop the Pause” gathering outside the Springfield DMV shows a few dozen attendees without masks or socially distancing.

A video shows two police officers in cruisers parked nearby. When one is asked about the group’s permit, and their lack of compliance with restrictions, he responds that a parade permit was issued…and police are there to get them from the gathering area and onto the interstate towards Salem.

In an email to KLCC, SPD Sergeant Dave Grice says the officer misspoke about a permit being granted. But he adds the other officer advised the group to don masks, which they did before leaving (a listener who claims to have been present at the Saturday event has since called in to dispute Grice's account.)

Grice wrote, “The group’s compliance is precisely why we are choosing education over enforcement action like citations and arrests.”

COVID-19 rates are at their highest in Oregon this year since the pandemic began.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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