Explorers harassed while hanging flags

A team of Keizer Fire District Explorers set to placing flags along River Road in celebration of Labor Day and were met with unfriendly receptions as they went about their work Wednesday, Sept. 2. 

Firefighter Nathan Farrand was chaperoning the groups as they made their way down River Road and said multiple drivers sKeizer Fire Districthouted obscenities or made obscene gestures as they put flags in place.

“These people also felt the need to threaten to pull over and ‘kick our asses.’ While on our way to place up another flag, someone also threw an heavy object at myself and the other explorers that were present,” Farrand alleged in an incident report regarding the encounters. 

Farrand said another man, described as a Black male about six feet tall, approached the group as they placed the final flag at the intersection of the Glynbrook Street North. 

“This individual decided to approach one of the explorers from behind and, in response, he yelled at the male to get back. At this point the male started to advance on the explorer and I stepped in between them instructing the male to back away and leave. The male continued to make threats at us, including beating us up, killing us, and shooting the police,” Farrand wrote. 

After the man made shooting gestures with his fingers near Farrand’s face and refused to move along, Farrand called 9-1-1 to report the matter. The man then turned and ran south along River Road North. 

After taking a report, Keizer Police Department officers located the individual walking along Cherry Avenue Northeast.

“The individual is a local transient and we have had multiple encounters with him. He likes to yell at anybody who happens to be in the area,” said Lt. Andrew Copeland of the Keizer Police Department. 

Copeland said the responding officers watched the man from a distance and he appeared to have calmed himself down. Police are not aware of anyone the man has physically assaulted.