A mostly peaceful protest against police violence and systematic racism turned violent Sunday night when a police SUV plowed through a group of protestors. A viral video of the incident showed the vehicle violently hitting multiple people and it continued to drive even as protestors were still on the hood. According to the Detroit police chief, they did all of this out of concern for their safety.
“Detroit Police Department just ran straight through a bunch of our protesters,” Ethan Ketner, a protester who filmed the scene, explained on Facebook. “Myself and 10-12 others were struck by this reckless driver who somehow has a badge.”
Even as people were screaming and yelling for the officer to stop, the police SUV continued to drive. The graphic video can be watched below.
Ketner explained that “multiple people injured” were receiving treatment at local hospitals.
Police told WDIV that an investigation was underway and the driver has yet to be publicly identified. Cops also told the Detroit News, the driver of the vehicle was trying to leave the scene after a rear back window had been “busted out.”
“He just floored it. He went super fast,” Bass told the Free Press. “Me and a couple of my other organizers that were with me, just went flinging off. We went flying off. He ran over a couple people’s arms, feet.”
The clip shows the car accelerating and braking at least three times, as some demonstrators bounced off the vehicle and others scrambled away in panic.
As two guys remained on the car, the SUV accelerated for a fourth time and after around 100 feet, both the guys, including Bass, were tossed from the car as the rest of the livid protestors pursued the vehicle.
“I could feel him speeding up and then… he flinged me off the car, and I rolled off,” Bass said. He explained that he hurt his knee and hand, however, his injuries weren’t severe.
“This shows the issues that we have with Detroit police,” said an organizer with the group Detroit Will Breathe, Tristan Taylor. “That’s why we’re marching, because these police feel like their badge gives them the authority to do harm and damage under any circumstances.”
Protestors in Detroit join protestors around the world speaking out against police violence, particularly after the deaths of people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade. Another similar incident of a police vehicle plowing through protestors occurred in New York City. The NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s task force opened a probe into the incident, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Despite all this, the mayor defended the NYPD saying, “It is inappropriate for protestors to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers. That’s wrong on its face and that hasn’t happened in the history of protests in this city.” New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described de Blasio’s reaction as “making excuses” for the NYPD.