Proud Boys Armed With Bats Clash With Counter-Demonstrators Outside Planned Parenthood

Police in Oregon made two arrests earlier this week after a protest outside an abortion clinic turned violent.

Officers said a group of around 20 people dressed in Proud Boys attire and carrying sidearms, paintball guns, bats and body armor clashed with a group of counter-protesters also holding bats and paintball guns outside a branch of Planned Parenthood in the city of Salem.

A "scuffle" broke out and police said "chemical irritants" were sprayed by both groups at each other and the officers.

The Proud Boys is a far-right organization known for violent confrontations with antifa, especially on the streets of Portland, Oregon. The group gained notoriety in September 2020 after Trump failed to condemn them and instead told them to "stand back and stand by" during a televised presidential debate.

They have frequently denied that they are white supremacists and instead call themselves an all-male "western chauvinist" society, but are listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Tuesday's confrontation took place at an event organized by the Church at Planned Parenthood, who describes their actions near sexual health clinics as "a worship service outside the gates of Hell."

Proud Boys security Oregon
Proud Boys provide security at a 2nd Amendment rally on May 1, 2021 in Salem, Oregon. Proud Boys from throughout Oregon had previously been laying low following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. capitol. Nathan Howard/Getty Images

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Salem Police Department said: "Just before 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, between 50 and 70 people were in attendance for the protest billed as The Church at Planned Parenthood at 3825 Wolverine ST NE.

"Within the large group were approximately 20 individuals dressed in Proud Boys attire, apparently acting as security. Some of these individuals carried visible sidearms, paintball guns, bats and body armor.

"At approximately 6:20 p.m., a group of about 40 counter-protestors arrived on foot carrying bats, paintball guns and armor."

Police said that although similar protests occur regularly, recent confrontations had "escalated."

The department said "an initial scuffle between opposing groups occurred early on" and officers quickly became outnumbered, triggering an emergency request for police backup.

The statement continued: "Minutes later, the two groups began to converge with the MRT [Mobile Response Team] officers placing themselves in the middle in an attempt to keep the groups separate. Individuals from each side refused to obey officer orders and continued to clash.

"Both groups sprayed chemical irritants at each other and the officers.

"To stop the continued physical assaults, MRT officers used two crowd control munitions along with a loud distraction device. No chemical agents were deployed by officers."

Tuesday evening's incident resulted in two arrests: Ricky Dale Clark, 64, who was detained on charges of assault in the third degree, riot, disorderly conduct in the second degree and resisting arrest; and Shawn Christopher Alyn Davidson, 30, for disorderly conduct in the second degree.

The police statement added: "Often during these dynamic situations, it is impractical to effect arrests at the time. As such, additional follow up investigations will be conducted.

"Due to significant incidents in other parts of the city, including motor-vehicle crashes, a stabbing, menacing and fights with weapons, the Salem Police Department required the assistance from the Marion County Sheriff's Office and the Keizer Police Department to assist with priority calls.

"Our approach to protests and rallies has remained consistent. Regardless of anyone's political affiliation or ideology, we make enforcement decisions based upon the neutral interests of public safety."

Newsweek has approached the Salem Police Department for further comment.