After the murder of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter activists in Salem, Oregon held several protests of varying sizes, including a large peaceful vigil on May 29th in honor of Mr. Floyd and countless other African American people that have been subjected to horrific police brutality. By all accounts, no issues were reported related to the events.
May 30, 2020
The following day, citing an uncorroborated ‘threat’ by what appeared to be a fake Facebook account, the owner of the Glamour Salon in Salem issued a ‘call to arms’ to protect her business. That call to arms resulted in dozens of heavily armed militia members, many of which have been confirmed to not be Salem residents, and many of which are confirmed to be white supremacists, flooded downtown Salem.
That evening Salem Police Department posted the following message on its Facebook page:
At 10:37 PM Salem Police Department posted the following message on its Facebook page:
Later than night Salem PD declared an emergency curfew on its Facebook page at 11:49 PM:
As you can see, it appears that the curfew was applied retroactively, listing that it took effect at 8 PM, despite no previous posts about it on Salem PD’s Facebook page. The link in the image goes to a web page on Salem PD’s website that currently lists the following, although as you can see, it states that it was altered after it was originally posted, and the exact time of publishing from the 30th is unknown:
After the curfew was announced, peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors were subjected to tear gas and flash grenades (often referred to as ‘flash bangs’) by Salem PD dressed in full riot gear, while the group of heavily armed militia members near Liberty Street and Ferry Street were not subjected to any curfew enforcement, despite being in violation of the same curfew.
To be fair, there were a limited number of individuals that were throwing things from the crowd of Black Lives Matter protestors, and one individual was seen spray painting with a can of black spray paint, however, those bad actors were very limited in number.
Salem PD made no effort to differentiate the bad actors from the hundreds (if not thousands) of peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors exercising their First Amendment right downtown at the time, and everyone present was subjected to tear gas, flash grenades, and other crowd control tactics.
Salem PD also did not take reasonable measures to mitigate against potential public safety hazards from their use of tear gas, as proven by at least one civil rights observer being tear-gassed while in his vehicle (not subject to the curfew) on Chemeketa street on May 30th.
May 31, 2020
The selective enforcement of the law by Salem PD continued throughout the night into the early hours of May 31st, as seen in a Facebook live stream that was broadcast by known white supremacist Angela Roman. Please note – this video did not surface and get widely circulated until several days later. The full video is embedded below, followed by a breakdown of the materially significant parts of the video:
For reference, below is a picture of Angela Roman, taken from her own Facebook page:
The video was broadcast starting at 1:09 AM PST in downtown Salem in front of the Glamour Salon on Liberty Street. At the 6:06 mark of the video, Salem PD can clearly be heard specifically telling people that if they are on Liberty Street, that they have to disperse because it is an unlawful gathering.
As you will see in the video, the group of armed white supremacists does not leave the area, they blatantly defied the curfew, and yet faced no enforcement by Salem PD while other individuals that were not armed were having the curfew enforced on them by Salem PD. The group of white supremacists even discussed how the curfew did not apply to them. They also continuously refer to peaceful protestors in the area as being ‘Antifa’ with zero proof. At roughly the 8:15 mark of the video, the group says that they plan to ‘stand their ground.’
At roughly the 9:16 mark, the filmer Angela Roman makes a reference to the ‘Boogalation Revelations‘ which is a white supremacist term for a race civil war. At around the 14-minute mark of the video, Salem PD starts to tear gas the crowd of Black Lives Matter protestors, but not the armed white supremacists. It also sounds like rubber bullets may be being used on the protestors, and it also sounds like one of the white supremacists cocked their gun behind the filmer.
At the 14:25 mark, the filmer does a panoramic view which clearly shows a large group of heavily armed people in front of the Glamour Salon that is facing no curfew enforcement whatsoever, referring to themselves as ‘patriots.’ Following the panoramic view, the filmer Angela Roman references the ‘AP Three Percent’ which is a reference to an alt-right militia movement that advocates for the resistance to the government. Angela Roman is the same woman that is seen in a widely circulated campaign photo for Salem-Keizer School Board Chairperson Marty Heyen. Marty Heyen is a proud supporter of the Three Percenters.
At the 14:55 mark, the filmer mentions that the group of protestors is sandwiched in between law enforcement and the armed white supremacists. At the 15:37 mark, one of the armed militia members mentions that someone should walk up to Salem PD to ask where they want them to be located.
At the 16:15 mark, the filmer and another woman approach a Salem PD officer and ask where they should be, and specifically state that the group is “trying to act like you” referring to Salem PD. The officer clearly says that “technically everyone is supposed to disperse” but then coaches the group to stick to the sidewalks (not go home, not go inside the businesses, and not go in a vehicle).
The filmer then says to tell “VanMeter” that “Angela Roman says hi” to which the officer says OK and chuckles. While the reference cannot be tied to a specific person given the limited wording, it is absolutely worth noting that a Lt. Jason VanMeter works for Salem PD and is the Public Information Officer for the Department. He is also the officer that took a knee with protestors on June 1, which was notably after this May 31st video was streamed, yet prior to it surfacing and being widely circulated:
As of the publishing of this website, Lt. Jason VanMeter has not issued a public statement regarding this video, which seems odd considering that he is the Public Information Officer for Salem PD. If Lt. VanMeter issues a public statement regarding why a known white supremacist is dropping his name to another Salem PD officer while rights are being violated, all on video, this page will be updated to reflect that said statement was issued.
After the interaction with the officer, the white supremacists then proceeded to stay in the area, experiencing no curfew enforcement, and laugh as the protestors have the same curfew enforced against them that the armed militia is also in violation of.
On the evening of May 31st, selective curfew enforcement by Salem PD continued. At roughly 11:18 PM PST, in a video recorded by civil rights observers during Black Lives Matter protests, the observers confront a Salem PD officer from their vehicle (not subject to the curfew). The interaction is with a Salem PD motorcycle cop at the intersection of Union Street and Winter Street. The short video clip is embedded below, followed by a description:
The occupants were asking why there was no police presence (let alone curfew enforcement) at the corner of Liberty Street and Ferry Street, where heavily armed militia members, many of which are confirmed white supremacists, were out front of the Glamour Salon on the sidewalk and above the salon in the sniper position on all levels of the parkade?
The officer claims in the video that there were “no resources” to send there because “IEDs” were being thrown at officers by Black Lives Matter protestors.
While it was confirmed that there were fireworks thrown towards Salem PD officers that night by a couple of bad actors, there have been no reports of IEDs being used by any protestors as of the posting of this website. If there is proof of IEDs being used against Salem PD on May 31, 2020, this page will be updated to reflect that proof.
At the same time this video was being captured, hundreds of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters were being subjected to tear gas and flash grenades due to the curfew, while the heavily armed militia members, many of which were known white supremacists, experienced no curfew enforcement at all.
The officer claimed that there were no resources to send to where the heavily armed white supremacists were located, however, the Salem Police Department Headquarters is literally on the same one-way street (Liberty Street) that the Glamour Salon is located on, two blocks away, and presumably the officers would have had to drive right past where the armed militia was located (which they literally do in a video found later on this page).
It’s yet another example of blatant selective enforcement by Salem PD in clear violation of Article 1 Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment Section 1 of the United States Constitution.
June 1, 2020
On June 1, in a video that made headlines as far away as the United Kingdom, Salem PD Sgt. Mike Johnson was seen approaching the heavily armed group in front of the Glamour Salon, many of which have been confirmed to be white supremacists. The full video is embedded below, followed by a breakdown of the materially significant parts of the video:
This video footage was streamed via Facebook on June 1, 2020 starting at 8:03 PM PST. At roughly the 2:45:00 mark of the video, Sgt. Mike Johnson tells the filmer that “we have really appreciated the attitudes you guys have all had” and states that he was asking the group for a “favor.”
The filmer then proceeds to explain to the heavily armed group, many of which have since been confirmed to be white supremacists, that there is an ‘Antifa threat’ regarding rioters and looters “going residential,” and specifically going to “white” neighborhoods. That specific threat was later proven to be a fake threat planted by white supremacists that were running a fake Twitter account:
At roughly the 2:49:30 mark of the video, the segment that eventually went viral, Sgt. Johnson states to the group that his “command” sent him over to “request” (not demand) that the group go inside of the business or in their cars (not to leave or go home) because the curfew was about to start being enforced, and Salem PD did not want to be seen as “playing favorites.”
After the viral interaction, the filmer discusses the fake “Antifa going residential” threat with Sgt. Johnson and Sgt. Johnson explains that Salem PD was following the same Twitter account – the Twitter account that was later proven to be fake and actually operated by white supremacists.
The group then proceeded to disregard the officer’s request and remained where they were for the next 6 minutes on video discussing how they would remain downtown and that some of them would be walking around, which is exactly what the officer said people would be arrested for doing. The filmer then proceeds to walk around downtown for over half an hour. People remained gathered near the intersection of Liberty Street and Ferry Street until at least 11:30 PM PST, and likely well beyond that time.
Meanwhile, at around 11:15 PM PST, kneeling peaceful protestors were being subjected to the use of flash grenades by Salem PD in riot gear, threats of arrest, and in some cases, actual arrest (images can be found at the links below):
A group of remaining protestors and police collided at the intersection of Winter and Center Street following a peaceful protest at about 11:15 p.m. pic.twitter.com/h3Upsg1tPF
— Salem Reporter (@SalemReporter) June 2, 2020
A small group of protestors is now in direct confrontation with police. Police are ordering them to go home or face arrest for trespassing. Police just released flash bangs. #salemoregon #salemprotest #GeorgeFloydProtests #clypiancoverage @SalemPoliceDept pic.twitter.com/ZgVw0xdQga
— Clypian (@Clypian) June 2, 2020
June 2, 2020
The following day on June 2, presumably while Salem PD was unaware of the May 31st and June 1st videos, Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett was referenced in the following article by Salem Reporter:
“Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett said he observed Monday’s protest from the police command center and the response from law enforcement. He said he observed police officers instruct people in Salem who weren’t involved in the demonstrations to go home as well. Between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., he said he saw individuals carrying rifles leave downtown after being told by police to leave.
“It’s not being used discriminately,” he said.
Remember, in the previously referenced June 1 video Sgt. Mike Johnson says that “command” sent him over to “request” what he previously described in the video as a “favor” from the group of heavily armed militia members, many of which are confirmed white supremacists. There seems to be some confusion among concerned Salem citizens regarding who Sgt. Mike Johnson’s “command” was on June 1. This is obviously a great question to pose to Mayor Chuck Bennett, who by his own admission, was there.
Later on June 2 the video from the previous night started to go viral, being seen by nearly 9 million people on one TikTok video alone over the course of several days, in addition to rising to the number 1 post position on the entire Reddit platform (330 million users), and being widely shared across other social media platforms:
POLICE OFFICER TELLS PROUD BOYS TO HIDE INSIDE BUILDING BECAUSE THEY’RE ABOUT TO TEAR GAS PROTESTERS. THE OFFICER SAID HE WAS WARNING THEM “DISCRETELY” BECAUSE HE DIDNT WANT PROTESTERS TO SEE POLICE “PLAY FAVORITES.”#BLUEFALL #PoliceBrutalityPandemic #PoliceBrutality pic.twitter.com/ri83By2EVy
— SatelliteHeart (@Satellit3Heart) June 5, 2020
The next day, Salem PD Chief Jerry Moore issued a public statement which included the following:
“A streaming video many of you have seen has resulted in phone calls and emails decrying the words which were spoken by one of our officers. The message we have received is a concern that we are treating people differently. For that I tell you, I am sorry. Sorry that there is even a thought that this department would treat some different than others.
I know the officer involved. Like me, he has dedicated his life to this department and this community. The impact the interactions captured on the video had on our community has been discussed with the officer. Unfortunately, he had not been fully briefed about enforcement of the curfew before he spoke with the group.”
Keep in mind, as of the posting of that public statement, Salem PD Chief Jerry Moore was presumably unaware of the other videos circulating on the internet, and was likely under the impression that there was only one video and that the PR talking points offered up in his statement (possibly crafted with the aid of Salem PD Public Information Officer Lt. Jason VanMeter?) would go unchecked.
However, as the other videos clearly demonstrate, there was a pattern of selective enforcement, and since Sgt. Mike Johnson was sent on behalf of his “command,” that he is a high-ranking officer in the Department, and has “dedicated his life” to Salem PD, it’s logical to conclude that he was clearly well equipped to carry out his marching orders from “command.”
Additional Selective Enforcement Footage
Below is yet another video showing selective enforcement by Salem PD. The exact date of the video is unknown, however, it was clearly filmed between May 30 – June 1, and when compared to the other videos, it is likely from the night of May 31st given who was present in this video, yet not seen in the other videos:
While there is some debate regarding where the racist slur being yelled originated from (see the description portion of the YouTube video for thorough analysis as to why it clearly came from the white supremacists), the fact remains that Salem PD can be clearly seen driving past the group of white supremacists in front of the Glamour Salon on their way to enforce a curfew that the white supremacists themselves were in violation of, which is further proof that Article 1 Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution was violated, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment Section 1 of the United States Constitution.
Lack Of Enforcement Of Salem Revised Codes
Furthermore, in all of the videos listed on this page, and others that are circulating on the internet, one thing that is not seen is Salem PD enforcing Salem Revised Code 95.095 which requires people carrying a loaded firearm on public property within city limits to have a concealed carry permit. It is possible that the members of the armed militia, many of which are confirmed white supremacists, had such permits, however, we have no way of knowing since the municipal code was never enforced by Salem PD according to the extensive video footage from May 30 – June 1.
Furthermore, there’s no evidence of the following municipal codes being enforced by Salem PD either, which considering that there were militia members in the sniper position on all levels of the parkade above the Glamour Salon pointing rifles at least one car of civil rights observers when they drove by May 30th and May 31st, and likely many other vehicles and pedestrians, that seems to be problematic, to say the least:
Even if a reasonable person suspended reality, and there was actually a real threat that property crimes were going to be committed (there wasn’t, it was a fake threat, but bear with me), the white supremacists at the salon were planning on shooting people? Salem PD is OK with that? What if one of the armed men coughed, or sneezed, or accidentally fired their assault rifles for whatever reason? Many innocent citizens were literally one trigger pull away from losing their lives.
Self-defense is one thing. It’s an entirely different matter when people are pointing assault rifles while wearing enough ammo strapped to their person to fight off hundreds of people in the name of protecting a Salon from a fake threat planted by white supremacists. And yet these people faced no enforcement. Not even basic questioning.
Instead, they were told by Salem PD that their attitudes were “appreciated.” That doesn’t pass even the most basic smell test.
June 6, 2020
On June 6, 2020, a known Neo-Nazi named Nathan Bates, along with a group of other white supremacists, tried to interrupt a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally at the Oregon State Capitol. Below is video footage of Neo-Nazi Bates literally shaking hands with Salem PD officers during the ordeal:
For reference purposes, below is Nathan Bates driving around Salem flying a large Nazi flag on June 19, along with an image of him at the Capitol June 6, and in front of the Glamour Salon between May 30 – June 1:
Nathan Bates can also clearly be seen in the June 1 video listed above, armed with an assault rifle, out front of the Glamour Salon.
Nathan Bates flying the Nazi flag is just one of at least 13 documented white supremacist incidents in Salem since May 30th alone, which, sadly, is not surprising given how white supremacists have been told that their attitudes are “appreciated” by Salem PD, and that most of Salem’s city leaders, including and especially Mayor Chuck Bennett, have refused to hold Salem PD accountable.
More Money For This Department, Are You Kidding Me?
Not only have Salem city leaders failed to hold Salem PD accountable for their actions, according to Salem Reporter the Police Department is getting more funding. From the article:
“In 2019, the Salem Police Department had a $44.2 million budget out of the city’s $128.7 million in general fund expenditures. This year, the police department is budgeted for $46.9 million out of a $139 million proposed budget.”
At a time when necessary city budget cuts are looming due to the pandemic, and a growing number of citizens in Salem are demanding that part of Salem PD’s bloated budget be allocated to more effective community programs, and Salem PD is literally on multiple videos committing rights violations, our city leaders are giving them more money. That is shameful and appalling.
A Recent Spike In White Supremacist Activity
Below is a link to an article describing another white supremacist incident in Salem that happened in June. It is worth noting that the incident occurred in the same neighborhood that Nathan Bates was last reported to be living in, although Salem PD has not publicly announced any results of an investigation into the matter:
Below are other examples of racist incidents that have been reported in Salem in recent weeks (in order – a truck displaying a Confederate flag and noose, kids in the Highland Neighborhood being harassed by a white supremacist because of their Black Lives Matter chalk messages, a neo-Nazi spotted at the Nomad Barber Studio in West Salem, and a Nazi swastika burned into a tree at Judson Middle School):
Ongoing Demands For A Third-Party Investigation
A petition was started on June 13, 2020 calling on Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to launch a third-party investigation in the City of Salem (linked below, over 1,500 signatures as of the launch of this website). Please sign and share it:
Mistrust, And Chief Moore’s Legacy
Given everything that has gone on, a third-party investigation is the only way that the citizens of Salem can feel confident in the process. Any internal Salem PD investigation is going to be seen as not being credible for obvious reasons, and the same will be true for any investigation by the Salem City Council and/or Mayor Chuck Bennett. In fact, Chief Moore continues to refuse to answer even basic questions about what transpired May 30 – June 1, and yet city leaders continue to remain largely silent about it:
Chief Jerry Moore has claimed recently that there was no one arrested for curfew, as if that somehow disproves selective enforcement claims. However, selective enforcement comes in many forms, not just actual arrest.
Regardless of if someone was ultimately arrested or not, the fact of the matter is that the curfew was enforced on a significant amount of Salem residents, many of them Young People of Color, in the form of the use of tear gas, flash grenades, threats, and according to the sounds in at least one video, possibly rubber bullets, and yet that same law was not applied to others, as seen on numerous videos from multiple nights.
Some of the very things that young People of Color were literally protesting against were the same things that they were being subjected to by Salem PD May 30 – June 1, which is disgusting.
Meanwhile heavily armed militia members were menacing, harassing, and publicly endangering Salem citizens, possibly in violation of municipal gun code and other municipal codes, and clearly in violation of the curfew, yet they are told that their attitudes are “appreciated.”
In Chief Moore’s June 3 public statement he stated, “Lawfully armed individuals violating a curfew does differ in severity from people throwing bricks and bottles during an otherwise peaceful demonstration. As such our responses will vary accordingly, but without favoritism or bias.”
Again, there’s no evidence that the heavily armed militia members, many of which are confirmed white supremacists, were properly determined to be “lawfully armed individuals.” Furthermore, Chief Moore’s statement fails to recognize the largest group of individuals downtown during the hours that the curfew was in effect – peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.
Chief Moore’s refusal to recognize this group of citizens, his refusal to answer even basic questions from citizens and local media, and his continued efforts to try to bury the facts with the use of evasive PR talking points is shameful. This is Chief Moore’s legacy, whether he likes it or not. He owns it.
A Very Dangerous Precedent
Trampling on people’s civil rights is wrong. Selective enforcement of the law is wrong. City leaders standing up for white supremacists while acting as if every peaceful protestor should be measured by a limited number of bad actors, some of which may very well have been white supremacist agitators, is wrong.
If this precedent is allowed to stand, and what so many of us had to endure gets buried and forgotten about as time goes by, it will send a clear message to heavily armed white supremacists everywhere that they are welcomed here by city leaders, and “appreciated” by Salem PD. We cannot let that happen. We have to ensure that city leaders are held accountable.
Many Salem residents have contacted several lawmakers that represent the City of Salem in Oregon’s Legislature about the contents of this website, just for the lawmakers to either not respond at all, or to tell their constituents that they should be directing their concerns to city leaders – the same city leaders that are failing the citizens that they were elected to serve.
Many of these lawmakers want to pass new policies, which is perfectly fine, however, we cannot effectively move forward if we can’t even acknowledge what actually happened in Salem between May 30 – June 1, and hold those involved accountable.
The contents of this website were previously shared with Salem City Council members, members of the Oregon Legislature, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s office, as well as U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader’s office, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden’s office, and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley’s office.
This is an issue that is of deepest concern to Salem residents, and quite frankly, it should be to all Oregonians. We cannot become a haven for armed white supremacists. If it can happen in Salem, which is apparently the case based on the substantial evidence contained on this website (and there is more out there), then it can happen anywhere in the state.
It is the Oregon Attorney General’s job to step in when local government officials are not doing their jobs, especially when rights violations are involved. It is Attorney General Rosenblum’s job to ensure that everyone is treated equally under the law (Article 1 Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution), which clearly did not happen in Salem between May 30 to June 1, as the evidence on this website clearly demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt.
This community belongs to all of us. Salem city leaders work for all of us. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum works for all of us. We must continue to demand that Ellen Rosenblum step up and do the job that we elected her to do. Again, please sign and share the petition found earlier on this page with everyone that you know and encourage them to sign and share it.