Detroit police rams Black Lives Matter crowd with SUV, flings screaming protesters: 'He just floored it'
When protesters appeared to climb on the hood of one of the SUVs, with its emergency lights flashing, the vehicle lurched forward, as screams of, “Oh my God,” can be heard
DETROIT, MICHIGAN: Although protests against police brutality had been peacefully going on till now in Detroit, things took a grave turn on Sunday, June 29, when a Detroit police officer drove an SUV through a crowd of protesters, an incident that was caught on camera.
It all started when protesters chanting, “no justice, no peace,” were blocked in their peaceful march by a couple of police cars. Protesters appeared to climb on the front of one of the SUVs and began pounding on it. With its emergency lights flashing, the vehicle lurched forward, as one of the women exclaimed, “Oh my God!”
The vehicle then moved forward several times, sending multiple protesters flying and others trying to scurry out of the way. At one point, the SUV jerked to a stop for a few seconds. But soon after, it was seen speeding away from the area with at least two protesters on the hood. The protesters were thrown to the ground a dozen yards later. One of them got up limping, while another seemed unharmed. Both of them marched back to Patton Park. Another police car in the area also followed suit, and left the area, soon after the first vehicle.
You can watch the video here.
Jae Bass, 24, of Detroit, who was one of the men thrown from the hood, said that he was leading the protesters through the roadblock created by the police vehicles when one of the cars began moving. He said that he tried to stand in front of the SUV in order to stop it before it put the lives of the protestors in danger.
"In response to that, he just floored it," Bass said. "He went super fast. Me and a couple of other organizers that were with me, just went flinging off. We went flying off. He ran over a couple people's arms, feet. He ran over her phone. I think I was the last person on the car. I was just holding on to the car. I could feel him speeding up and then he did one of these and he flinged me off the car."
Detroit police spokeswoman Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said that in the incident, the rear window of the police vehicle was smashed in. She added that the department is investigating the actions of both the protesters and the officer who was at the wheel of the car.
Police Chief James Craig said the officer who drove a police vehicle through a crowd of protesters Sunday night did so because the officer thought “they were being fired upon.”
No immediate disciplinary actions will be taken against the officer, Craig said. "What's in the officer's mind ... of course in their mind... they believe they could be shot," Craig said at the press conference. "Because of that, they had to take forth evasive action." No one was seriously injured, Craig said.
Activist Ethan Ketner said on Twitter, “Detroit Police Department drove into 10-12 protesters including myself," as he condemned the “reckless driver who somehow has a badge.” He also said that “multiple people are going to the hospital,” although it was unclear as to how severe their injuries were. He also said that it was evident from the video that it was a “clear act of aggression” from the police as they “drove into the protest.” He wrote, "They did not need to drive past us for emergency purposes because they had other officers on the other side ready."
Protest organizer Tristan Taylor of Detroit Will Breathe, who led previous marches in Detroit told WDIV the incident was a perfect example of “why we march.” He said, “The police feel like their badge gives them the authority to do harm and damage under any circumstances.”