- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - A Eugene man says his vehicle was vandalized when he ran into an anti-President Donald Trump rally why flying a Trump flag on his SUV.

Cameron Sparhawk, 23, was headed home on Sunday when he ran into protesters marching the wrong way along the street, The Register-Guard reported (https://is.gd/LGApSE). Some members of the group ripped his Trump flag from the vehicle and burned it. The protesters also punctured a tire on his vehicle and pounded on the hood of his car.

Sparhawk said the marchers were walking the wrong way down the street. He said he wasn’t going to change his path just for the protesters.

“I was not looking to start anything, and I was not in the wrong,” Sparhawk said.

Sparhawk said he decided to fly the Trump flag from his SUV after hearing about planned protests in opposition of Trump’s executive order imposing a temporary travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries were happening at airports across the country.

“I don’t want everyone to think Eugene is a completely liberal community. I want people to know that some of us are on the other side of the spectrum.”

Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns said investigators are reviewing video of the incident in hopes of identifying people who could face charges for their involvement.

The incident occurred more than two hours after about 1,000 people began gathering outside the U.S. Courthouse in Eugene to rally against Trump’s executive order. Plans for that rally did not include a mark, Kerns said. However, about 150 protesters broke off from the main group and started marching through downtown, blocking traffic.

Video captured by witnesses of the incident show marchers surrounding Sparhawk’s SUV and appearing to push it backward. Another video shows Sparhawk getting angrily out of his car after protesters punched his windows.

“I said things I shouldn’t have in the heat of the moment,” he said. “That doesn’t express my views.”

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

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