“We are listening and we’ll continue to listen,” Medford Police Chief Scott Clauson said.
As protesters called for justice, the Medford Police Department stood by to ensure it stayed peaceful.
“We appreciate and respect people’s right to gather and utilize their first amendment rights,” Chief Clauson said.
Chief Clauson said their role as law enforcement is to allow the protest, while making sure public safety is maintained and private property isn’t destroyed.
“Really it was just kind of a monitoring situations and when disturbances arose, we came in,” Said Chief Clauson.
While the overwhelming majority of the protests didn’t have any violence, Chief Clauson says they did respond to a couple incidents, including a truck driving through a crowd, which remains under investigation.
Police also responded to reports of a man waving a gun at Central and 9th. He was arrested and charged with menacing.
“He went beyond making a statement and doing what many of the open carry guys did and that’s just by carrying their fire arms on their side. He was actually waving it around and inciting the crowd,” Chief Clauson said.
Chief Clauson says overall, there was no damage or looting around town. Instead the peace was kept, which is exactly what he expected.
“For the most part remained very peaceful. It was mostly a verbal dialogue and again we appreciate and respect both sides and we are there just to keep the peace,” Chief Clauson said.
He says the Medford Police Department will continue to recruit and train officers that keep all members of the community in the forefront of their mind.
“I think that’s the failure of many police agencies around the nation. They don’t train enough and then you have to have great supervisors that can supervise their people,” Chief Clauson said.
Medford police say if there are more protests, they will respond in the same way, making sure the community stays safe, while ensuring people have the freedom of speech.
Anna Weeks is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Oregon State University with a degree in Digital Communication Arts and a minor in writing. Previously, she interned with the National Association of Broadcasters at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.
Originally from the Portland area, Anna is excited to explore Southern Oregon. In her free time, she can be found reading, running or watching sports.