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Medford downtown protests continue Monday evening amid sporadic flaring of tensions

Following a peaceful protest in Medford earlier on Monday, some groups have continued to demonstrate downtown — resulting in a few tense incidents.

Posted: Jun 1, 2020 7:48 PM
Updated: Jun 2, 2020 3:15 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Following a large and peaceful protest in Medford earlier on Monday, some groups continued to demonstrate while gradually moving through downtown — resulting in a few tense incidents.

The main organized demonstration happened near Medford City Hall, beginning around noon and involving hundreds of people, many of them holding signs and chanting for justice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

As the afternoon continued, a smaller group began to move to the area near Main and Central — resulting in several encounters with drivers who forced their way through the crowd, pushing people out of the way, while some protesters hit the vehicles.

"There have been several incidents reported, including a motorist driving through protestors," Medford Police later said in a post. "The driver has been identified and the case is under investigation."

Around 7 p.m., NewsWatch 12 staff witnessed a man arguing with protesters who were standing around his pickup truck near 8th and Central. He pulled a handgun when one of the protesters threw a water bottle and a tense confrontation ensued between the man and the surrounding people.

Police in tactical gear came to the scene about two minutes later and made a cordon around the truck. The man with the pistol moved his truck away from the protesters, still surrounded by police.

Medford Police also mentioned this incident, saying that the agency's Mobile Response Team went in to de-escalate the tense encounter. The man with the gun was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, MPD said.

"As protests continue into the night, we’re asking the public to be aware of potential traffic hazards in the downtown area. We will continue monitoring the situation," the agency concluded. "Our department respects the first amendment rights of our citizens and asks that protests are done in a safe manner."

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