Eugene’s Police Chief says activists have been helping to keep the peace during recent protests of the killing of George Floyd this week.
Chris Skinner says during the Black Lives Matter protest and march Sunday, there were several times where things could easily have gone out of control.
“There was an individual that ran up to the jail with a can of spray paint and started to graffiti the jail," recalls Skinner.
"And it was the other protesters to say, “No, that isn’t what this is about.” Physically grabbed him and pulled him away from the building, and the guy ran off.
"And then of course, the individual in a vehicle in the middle of the protest who decided that it’d be a great idea to get out of his car with a rifle. That could’ve quickly become very, very dangerous if but for Isiah Wagoner who stepped in, and got that guy outta there.”
Wagoner is an activist and speaker for Black Lives Matter, who was also among those trying to stop the rioting Friday night. A self-described "man of God" he encouraged his fellow activists to keep the peace throughout the weekend, including the Sunday protest and march.
Wagoner recalls suddenly encountering the man, who had exited his Jeep with his semi-automatic rifle. The man said it “had no clip” and that he had Second Amendment rights.
Incited, some people in the crowd surged into the men, throwing punches.
“I got hit a couple times, I was slammed down onto the ground with this gentleman," Wagoner tells KLCC.
"The scariest thing I saw was two people’s hands on an assault rifle at the same time, and I don’t know at that point where his magazine’s at, if it’s loaded, or what’s going on. But I’m trying to get him out of there as quickly as possible.”
The man escaped back into his Jeep, and left. The incident remains under investigation.
Wagoner says he hopes the Black Lives Matter movement reforms justice for African-Americans. And he hopes the Eugene Police will join future events.
Meanwhile, the incident remains under investigation.
In a separate incident, a man fired a handgun from a car to disperse the crowd. He was arrested and charged.
Copyright 2020, KLCC.