Two men were arrested during a Tuesday evening protest in front of Planned Parenthood in Salem.
The arrests followed a confrontation where people protesting abortion and counterdemonstrators clashed and pepper sprayed each other, according to Salem police.
Ricky Dale Clark, 64, of Beaverton, was arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault, second-degree disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Shawn Christopher Davidson, 30, of Salem, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree disorderly conduct.
The clash took place at a Church at Planned Parenthood event outside the health clinic. The TCAPP website describes the group’s services outside clinics as “a worship service outside the gates of Hell.”
In Salem, the group has been holding regular Tuesday evening services outside the Planned Parenthood clinic for months, according to its Facebook page. The July 13 event billed two pastors as guest speakers – Greg Locke and Ken Peters. TCCAP has also held regular demonstrations in Spokane.
In a news release Wednesday afternoon, Salem police described the order of events.
The release said around 6 p.m. between 50 and 70 people attended a protest billed as “The Church at Planned Parenthood.” About 20 of those attending wore Proud Boys clothing and acted as “security,” carrying guns, bats and body armor, police said.
Proud Boys are a far-right group that’s been involved in street brawls in Salem and around the U.S.
Twenty minutes later, about 40 counterprotesters arrived carrying bats, paintball guns and armor, police said.
“An initial scuffle between opposing groups occurred early on, yet (mobile response team) officers were able to intervene to separate those involved. As the team became outnumbered, an emergency request for additional law enforcement resources was issued,” it said.
Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded.
Officers got in between the groups, the release said.
Police said individuals from each side refused to obey officers’ orders and continued clashing and pepper sprayed each other and the officers.
The release said police used “crowd control munitions” and a “loud distraction device” to stop the assaults.
In a Facebook post, Locke described Tuesday night’s protest a “mini-war” in the streets.
In a video posted shortly before the event, Locke said that pastors had arrived to find Proud Boys there to provide security because they’d heard of a planned counterdemonstration. Locke asked supporters to pray for protection.
“Proud Boys and antifa have already been clashing,” Locke said. He said antifascist protesters were “trying to overshadow what we’re trying to do here.”
Salem resident Joe Smothers, who’s regularly attended counterprotests at the clinic, livestreamed Tuesday’s event on Facebook.
He said the Church of Planned Parenthood protests every second Tuesday and counter protesters stand on the opposite side of the road playing music.
In a Facebook post, Smothers said Proud Boys began focusing on counterprotesters after police arrived Tuesday.
“The proud boys tackled one person to the ground,” he wrote, saying multiple Proud Boys were attacking one person.
Police said they will conduct follow-up investigations because arrests are often impractical during “dynamic situations.”
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