EUGENE, Ore. - Police used a Taser on a protest organizer and charged him and two others with disorderly conduct downtown Friday afternoon.
The protestor was one of the organizers of an event by "Crazy People" for Wild Places, a group that gathered in Ken Kesey Square around noon to hear speakers and rally against the use of pesticides and herbicides in Lane County.
The group wanted to raise awareness about the health risks of roadside spraying of pesticide and herbicide and advocate for changes in policy regarding spraying along county and state roads.
Police said an officer arrived at 1:14 p.m. and found Ian Van Ornum, 19, shown at left in a March interview, blocking traffic and spraying an unknown substance in the street. Van Ornum was dressed as an exterminator, police said. The "Crazy People" press release invited participants to wear costumes.
Other protestors at the scene told a reporter Van Ornum was not blocking traffic.
Police said Van Ornum asked the officer, "Do you want poison in your face?" Two officers attempted to escort Van Ornum out of the street. According to police, he pulled away and fought with the officers, who took him into custody with a Taser, according to police.
Carly Barnicle, who along with Van Ornum is listed as a contact on a press release for the rally, said police used the Taser after restraining Van Ornum.
"What they did today was not right," Barnicle said, at right.
She said she asked police what crime Van Ornum had committed.
"They just kept pushing me back," she said. "They almost pushed me over on the concrete."
Police estimated a crowd of 25 to 30 people formed at the scene. Police said David Alexander Owen ran at the officers and that another man, Anthony Jameson Farley, swung at the officers.
Police charged Van Ornum with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The Taser was used to take him into custody.
"He had one handcuff on and he broke loose from the officers and he was swinging the handcuff at the officers which presents a signficant risk to them so the Taser was used in order to bring him under control," said. Capt. Pete Kerns, at right.
Police charged Farley, 22, with assault, interfering with a police officer and disorderly conduct.
Police charged Owen, 40, with interfering with a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.