MEDFORD, Ore. – A local mayor won’t face charges in connection with an incident during a recent protest.
According to the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office, Mikala Johnston claimed during a June 1 protest she was walking down the middle of a downtown Medford street when she was “clipped” by a car driven by Phoenix, Oregon Mayor Chris Luz.
Footage of the incident was posted on YouTube. It shows the car’s front quarter panel brushing by Johnston, followed by the car’s mirror, the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office said. Prosecutors added Johnston made no indication she was hurt in any way by the “very slow vehicle.”
The D.A.’s office said after “clipping,” Johnston and other protestors walked in front of Luz’s car as others urged them to allow the car to move.
Prosecutors said Luz told police about the incident the day it happened. “Troublemakers blocked the street and blocked my car,” Luz reportedly stated. “One guy jumped on the hood 2 times.” According to the district attorney’s office, Luz told a detective he was focused on the crowd around him and was not aware his car had “brushed” Johnston.
The district attorney’s office concluded there’s no evidence Luz “knew or should’ve reasonably known that he had ‘injured’ someone.” Therefore, he will not face any charges.
Medford police submitted reports to the D.A.’s office so they could consider charging Johnston with disorderly conduct, riot, and criminal mischief. However, prosecutors concluded that singling out Johnston when there were other protestors doing the same thing was “not appropriate.” She won’t be charged.
Luz provided the following statement after the district attorney’s decision was made public:
I would like to thank Medford’s public servants, including the District Attorney’s office for their thorough and independent review of the June 1 incident which has cleared me of any wrongdoing.
While it’s been difficult to sit on the sidelines during the review process, ultimately, I believed the facts and supporting video would clear me from any wrongdoing as I was returning to work after getting an oil change on June 1st.
I also would like to thank everyone who has reached out to me with their support. It has been very appreciated.Peaceful protests are essential for our democracy and I fully support residents speaking out against racism and hatred.It’s time to put this situation behind us and work together to build a stronger community for all our citizens.