As hundreds of protesters peacefully marched through Springfield during June 6, 2020, Black Lives Matter-related protest, the group avoided the city’s Main Street, intimidated by a few white men carrying firearms.
Among those white men carrying firearms was David Loveall, now a candidate to represent Springfield on the Lane County Board of County Commissioners, who stood on Main Street outside of a building he owns with an AR-15 style rifle, according to a video clip obtained by Eugene Weekly. Loveall previously told EW that he would not deny nor confirm whether he was on Main Street with a firearm.
Black Lives Matter-related protests in Eugene began May 29, four days after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. His death, caught on video, inspired national — and international — protests calling attention to the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement. On May 31, two days after what Eugene police called a riot occurred in downtown Eugene, thousands of people marched from the federal courthouse to Alton Baker Park. And on June 6, a BLM-related group held its first protest through Springfield, which saw hundreds of protesters march through the city’s downtown neighborhoods.
The June 6 protest in Springfield did not see any police interference and the group peacefully marched through the city’s center, starting and ending at City Hall, according to EW’s reporting at the time. The protest route avoided Main Street because of the handful of white men were armed with weapons, a leading figure of the protest, Isiah Wagoner, told EW.
When asked about the photo evidence of him carrying a firearm at the protest, Loveall says the difference between Eugene and Springfield is that the latter will defend its homes and businesses. He claims there was a credible threat under the umbrella of a peaceful protest. “We never intimidated anyone not to protest. We never had an argument. We never had a conversation,” he says. “The protesters decided not to come down to Main Street because of the presence of people willing to protect their property.”
He alleges protesters graffitied his property, left trash and tried to break into his Black son’s downtown apartment. Carrying a firearm on Main Street, he adds, was a way of him upholding the oath he took when he joined the U.S. Navy, to protect the country from domestic and foreign enemies.
EW checked Springfield police logs from June 6, and there were not any calls for service related to a break-in, but someone called the police at 6:05 pm about two males walking with assault rifles near Plank Town Brewing. Springfield police officers responded that it was two business owners carrying the rifles legally.
Kimberly Buckmaster, co-owner of Castle of Games on Main Street, says that then-Springfield Police Chief Rick Lewis visited the store, along with a few city councilors. Lewis wasn’t alarmist in his statements about the protests in Springfield, they say. It was community outreach and there wasn’t talk about protesters burning down Main Street buildings, Buckmaster says, alluding to previous statements Loveall made to EW.
Loveall told EW in an article published May 12 that former Springfield Police Chief Rick Lewis told Main Street businesses that “Black Lives Matter and Antifa” were going to burn the city to the ground and that he recommended them protect their property as they saw fit.
The city of Springfield has not confirmed whether or not Lewis made this comment, and the city says it has no documentation of an email from Lewis to businesses on Main Street.
Loveall says he has a copy of the email, but he says he won’t share it because he doesn’t think it’s a story worth reporting.
Loveall is running against incumbent Joe Berney for the May 17 primary election. Ballots must be postmarked by May 17 or dropped at a ballot box by 8 pm on Election Day.