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Alleged assault referred to DA after Rogue River fracas

Rogue River police have referred an assault case to the Jackson County District Attorney’s office stemming from a Black Lives Matter demonstration in the town last Saturday.

Ashland resident Amanda Rose, who came to support the Black Lives Matter rally, said an elderly counter-protester hit her in the mouth with a flag pole.

Rose said the man struck her after she tried to deescalate a conflict between a Black Lives Matter supporter and a group of counter-protesters at the rally.

Before the alleged assault, she said she saw a man in distress walking down the street near counter-protesters who were shouting at him. Rose said she put herself, with her fist raised in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, between him and a woman who had come up to him. The woman eventually moved away, she said, but an elderly man started to shove her and told her to put her fist down. She said the man then turned the flagpole he was holding upside down and struck her in the face.

Rogue River police Chief Curtis Whipple, who was at the rally, said officers gave Rose a case number, took her report of the incident and took photos of her face. Rose said she developed a bruise after she was allegedly hit with the pole.

Whipple said officers also had body camera footage of the incident that they could send to the Jackson County DA’s office if requested. The elderly man disputed Rose’s claim when approached by police, according to Whipple, who said officers told the man they would leave him alone as long as he was watched by the relative who accompanied him at the protest.

Saturday’s Black Lives Matter demonstration was organized by the Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity. The organization had originally planned for a downtown march followed by a barbecue at Palmerton Park where people could share their experiences dealing with racism. People who didn’t like the idea of the barbecue, however, booked the park pavilion for the planned date, according to earlier news reports.

The coalition then booked space for the barbecue at the Evans Valley Community Center, which canceled the reservation last Friday due to what the Evans Valley Association said were community concerns the barbecue could possibly create a dangerous environment and was “not a good fit for the Rogue River/Wimer community,” according to screen shots of a text message exchange between the Association and the Southern Oregon Coalition, which the coalition included in a press release last Friday.

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune A Rogue River Police officer patrols Broadway Street as protesters and counter-protesters face off against each other at a racism awareness event.