EUGENE, Ore. — Eugene native and protester Isiah Wagoner is speaking out about his decision to step in during a protest Sunday to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation.
Wagoner, who is one of the protest leaders, saw the commotion start when a crowd swarmed a man protecting his car with an assault rifle. He and other protesters were able to break up the crowd after a short scuffle.
"When I walked up and saw what was going on, instantly my head had clicked that we could potentially have this man damage or have some of the protesters damaged by the gun in his hand," Wagoner said. "So I wanted to take action to keep the peace the best way I can."
Wagoner did receive a cut from the tip of the gun on his upper stomach but nothing escalated beyond that.
Wagoner said he is out protesting because he believes his large, physical presence will help get the protester's voices heard. Those voices are demanding an end to systemic racism and police brutality across the country. Wagoner said he wants the community he has spent his whole life in to be aware of the everyday battle people of color to have to go through, even decades after the Civil Rights movement.
"I grew up here, I love the people here, I want us all to be in unity," Wagoner said. "Racism does live in Eugene, people cannot blindly ignore those facts, it does happen absolutely."
Wagoner also has a daughter, and he said he wants her to have a life twelve times better than he does.
"I want people to look at her with inspirations, pride and happiness and bringing people together, not that this is just a black woman because she’s more than that," Wagoner said.