An investigation is underway after a car drove straight through a protest in New York on Thursday night. During a Black Lives Matter march, a vehicle of allegedly pro-Trump counter-protestors caused violence and fear, though no deaths occurred and no one was seriously injured.
Approximately 350 people were gathered in Times Square marching for Daniel Prude — a Black man who was suffocated by police — when the car drove through the crowd. After bulldozing tons of protestors, the car hit two people who struck the window. It then accelerated and left the scene.
According to current reports, the car was a black Ford Taurus police interceptor, and appears to have been previously used by law enforcement. A new video shows NYPD officers escorting counter-protestors, with one dressed in an American flag shirt, into the vehicle around 8 p.m. Thursday night shortly before the car ran into people. The NYPD tweeted a brief statement denying that the car belonged to any officers, despite what videos have indicated.
Protestors were gathered in Times Square to honour Prude after his family released body camera footage of his death in March. When he was arrested, Daniel Prude had just been released from the hospital for suicidal ideation. His brother Joe had called the police worried that he was having a psychotic break. The graphic video shows officers putting a spit hood over his head before pressing him into the ground as he lay on the street naked and handcuffed.
It also shows Prude yelling, “You’re trying to kill me!” while police can be heard mocking him. The medical examiner ruled that Prude’s cause of death was asphyxia due to suffocation from the police. On Friday, the seven police officers who were at the scene and killed him were suspended from their duties, despite alleging that they followed protocol.
Footage of the protest — and the vehicle violently driving through it — began circulating Thursday night and well into Friday as the NYPD reportedly continued to search for the car in question. "A black car came through the crowd and hit the person in front of me and then me and then I believe the person behind me, and we all had bikes so they just came charging through. It was pretty terrifying," Lora Gettelfinger, a witness, told CBS.
On Twitter, Marshall Peschell, another person who was at the demonstration said, “The medics tonight did a lot in the rain, kept rewrapping and trying to care for injuries as we continued to march.”
But this isn't the first encounter of its kind: this is one of dozens of instances where a car has rammed through Black Lives Matter demonstrations in America in recent months. According to reports, drivers have hit protestors more than sixty times since protests broke out in May.
Though officers say that they are still investigating the scene, protestors continue to demand justice for Prude and the movement ignited by masses of unarmed Black people experiencing police violence in America.