SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – Three members of the group Black Unity were arrested after a protest turned into a violent confrontation with police in a Springfield neighborhood Wednesday night, according to a leader of the group.
Black Unity, which has been organizing largely peaceful protests throughout the Eugene-Springfield areas for several months, staged an event at Jesse Maine Memorial Park in Thurston Wednesday night.
According to Clea Ibrahim, a leader of the group, the protesters began marching and it did not take long before protesters were met by a wall of Springfield police officers as well as counter-protesters.
KEZI 9 News saw police and protesters wrestling at the barricade line. Protesters continued to march back to Jessie Maine Memorial Park, where counter-protesters then met them. People from both sides told us they had been punched, slapped, or hit with pepper spray.
Ibrahim said she was not sure what or who caused the altercation between police and protesters to become physical. Ibrahim said Black Unity member Tyshawn Ford was arrested and charged with criminal misconduct and resisting arrest. Ibrahim said Ford sustained a “mild concussion” as a result of the arrest. According to Ibrahim, two others, including a medic for the group, were also arrested.
“There was talk around the town of an angry mob coming to destroy the homes of people around Thurston, which is not true. We were just going to be protesting through a residential area,” Ibrahim said.
The Springfield Police Department has not returned a request for comment at this time.