Protests at state capitol leads to several arrests
Salem, Ore. — Oregon’s state capitol continues to be a draw for demonstrations and protestors. On Sunday, March 28, 2021, events were held by two separate groups intending to meet at the state capitol grounds.
The first event billed as the Freedom Rally appeared on social media streams in February. A second event appeared soon after, named Fascist Free 503, indicating a counter response to the Freedom Rally. Social media posts connected to the group indicated their intention to prevent the Freedom Rally caravan from meeting at the state capitol.
Shortly before noon, approximately 100 individuals wearing black clothing and ballistic vests and carrying firearms, bats, skateboards, umbrellas, shields and gas masks arrived on the capitol mall grounds. Some individuals from the group carried Youth Liberation Front flags, a group known to espouse leftwing ideologies. The group congregated along Court Street in front of the capitol building.
Soon after their arrival, the Salem Police department began to receive reports that individuals from the Court Street group were targeting vehicles driving by. The victims reported their vehicles were damaged by paint filled balloons, rocks and other hard objects being thrown at them as they passed. One vehicle sustained significant damage after a large tree limb was thrown through the front window into the vehicle’s passenger seat. Patrol officers responded and took several reports to initiate criminal investigations.
Due to the ongoing reports of criminal activity, Court Street was closed. Doing so allowed Oregon State Police and Salem Police crowd management teams to respond to the capitol grounds and declare the gathering on Court Street an unlawful assembly. The closure also deterred the Freedom Rally caravan from entering the area. Audible announcements to disperse were given to the crowd on Court Street. The teams successfully removed the individuals onto the capitol mall. No force was used as the individuals complied with commands. The Oregon State Police teams returned to the capitol building area.
The dispersed crowd, however, began to move about the various streets surrounding the capitol mall. Several altercations and property damage were reported including a reported incident of paintball guns being used, and a firearm displayed. During the arrest of two suspects, officers used less-than-lethal rounds in their apprehension.
The following individuals were arrested and lodged at the Marion County Correctional Facility on charges related to criminal activity during today’s event:
Andrew Alan Foy, age 34: Disorderly conduct in the second degree and criminal trespass in the second degree
Nathan McFarland, age 33: Disorderly conduct in the second degree
Anthony Villaneda, age 18: Unlawful pointing of a laser, five counts
Arrested (from left): Andrew Foy, Nathan McFarland, Anthony Villaneda
These are open criminal cases and will continue to be investigated. Anyone with information related to these incidents or any other criminal acts which took place today, March 28, 2021, are encouraged to contact the Salem Police Department tips line at 503-588-8477.
Our thanks the Oregon State Police and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in the handling of today’s protest events. We also extend our appreciation to the Keizer Police Department and Polk County Sheriff’s Office for their help in responding to calls for service while Salem patrol officers were focused on the events at the state capitol.
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