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Investigation underway after violence erupts at Bend political rallies

DA Hummel expects to issue a statement on any charges in 1-3 weeks

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- President Trump supporters gathering for a cruise through town and Black Lives Matter protesters holding a self-described "block party" gathered at Bend's Pilot Butte parking lot over the weekend.

Both groups told us beforehand they had every intention of their events staying peaceful, but the situation turned violent Saturday afternoon as Trump supporters prepared to leave for their planned caravan through downtown Bend.

Our first reports over the weekend indicated a man was accused of stealing a flag from a Trump supporter's vehicle.

In what quickly became a chaotic scene of multiple confrontations, an individual then brandished a gun at protesters in what he said was self-defense of his pickup truck.

Bend police say they took several reports of assault, people being hit with bear spray, the possible use of a Taser and the pointing of the gun, which was confiscated by police. No initial charges against that man became a focal point of the Black Lives Matter group, who called for his arrest.

NewsChannel 21 spoke Monday with Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel to see where things stand on the various allegations.

"I'm starting to get those reports in from law enforcement. I'll review every allegation," Hummel said. "People are telling me Trump people committed crimes, Black Lives Matter committed crimes, Back the Blue committed crimes, and people are even telling me police themselves committed crimes."

Hummel said he will review all the evidence and make a public statement on any possible charges from his office within 1-3 weeks.

A group of BLM protesters staged a protest at the Bend police headquarters Sunday night. Several returned Monday to repeat their claim that officers used excessive force to remove protesters who blocked Bend police cars from leaving after the gun incident.

Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz issued a lengthy public statement Sunday evening on Saturday's events, which read in part:.

"Officers provided warnings that they were committing criminal activity of interfering with police officers and they would be moved by officers if they did not move. 

"Ultimately, these persons were physically moved by officers with as minimal force as was necessary to move them, during this, several of the people punched, hit and assaulted officers. 

"Ultimately, the people who were blocking the officers and who assaulted or harassed officers will be documented in an investigate report, and those cases will be referred to the district attorney's office for formal charges. "

While the two groups both said they had good intentions and that the other group caused the trouble, the day ended in frustration and left many questions left to be answered by authorities in coming days.

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.


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