A video showing a Detroit police SUV ramming a crowd of protesters has gotten over 1.8 million views on Twitter. The incident took place Sunday during one of the many protests still taking place around the country. Protesters are claiming the police were the aggressors, but the Police chief is blaming “agitators” who smashed the rear window of the vehicle.
Detroit Police Department drove into 10-12 protesters including myself. Multiple people are going to the hospital. #NoJusticeNoPeace #detroitpolice #GeorgeFloyd #BreonnaTayor #PoliceBrutality pic.twitter.com/etj3a6ejzN
— Activist Ethan Lucas (@DJEazyTwist) June 29, 2020
In a Facebook post about the incident, Ethan Ketner, a protester who filmed the encounter said that 10 to 12 people were hit. He said, “Someone was trapped on the hood and eventually tossed as the officer swerved to throw him off.” He went on to say that the police drove through the crowd after protesters walked past the vehicle. He said, “They did not need to drive past us for emergency purposes because they had other officers on the other side ready. This was a clear act of aggression.”
Detroit Police Chief James Craig had a different view of the events. He said during a Monday briefing that this protest was not the first in the city and that they have usually been peaceful. He said that this one started out no different. He said, “Yesterday was no different. It did start as a peaceful protest.” Craig then said that things changed because of “a few agitators.” Craig kept repeating that most of the protesters were peaceful but says that police began to get reports of protesters carrying hammers and two police vehicles were attacked.
Craig claimed that the police SUV did not ram the protesters until 25 to 30 people jumped on the hood of the vehicle and smashed the rear window. Craig then read a letter from an unnamed protester who left the protest before the incident. It reads, “I was there and I was leaving because they were plotting to provoke the police,” the protestor reportedly said in the statement. “As I was leaving, I saw those same guys starting to hit the police vehicle for no reason.”
Another protester who was thrown from the hood of the SUV, Jae Bass, told his side of the story. He told the Detroit Free Press that officers attempted to block protesters from going back to the park and Bass tried to guide protesters through a roadblock. Bass says he then stood in front of the SUV to stop the cops from hurting protesters. “In response to that, he just floored it. 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 onto the car. I could feel him speeding up and then he did one of these and he flinged me off the car.”
The police chief claims to not have received any reports of injury but invites anyone with injuries to report to the police.
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Travis Earle is a veteran of the United States Navy and a resident of Memphis, Tennessee. He serves as a politics writer for Hill Reporter. Travis@HillReporter.com