Stupidity all the way around, and especially for the driver in what is most assuredly a “deadly weapon” in terms of assault. After a confrontation between Black Lives Matter protesters and counterdemonstrators, police ordered one of the latter to take his car and leave. The counterdemonstrator did — by driving right through the BLM crowd blocking the road.
Immediately afterward, a rumor started spreading that the black Ford Taurus was actually an unmarked police car, a rumor that the NYPD tried to stamp out ASAP:
Dramatic cellphone video captured a car accelerating into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in New York City’s Times Square Thursday night. No one was seriously injured, and police are searching for the driver.
The demonstrators had gathered to protest the death of Daniel Prude, who died days after a controversial arrest by Rochester police officers. Prude died in March, but disturbing body camera footage of the incident was released by his family on Wednesday. The video showed officers placing a “spit hood” over Prude’s head, then pressing his head into the ground while he lay on the street naked and handcuffed. …
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Times Square Thursday night to call for justice in the case. However, the NYPD tells CBS New York that a standoff occurred between members of the Black Lives Matter march and those of a nearby pro-Trump rally. As the confrontation grew heated, police say an officer told one of the pro-Trump demonstrators to leave in his car, taking a specific route. Instead, that demonstrator allegedly drove directly through the Black Lives Matter march.
“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,” Brooklyn resident Lora Gettelfinger told CBS New York.
There is an ongoing investigation into an incident in Times Square involving a black Taurus sedan. This auto is NOT an NYPD vehicle. pic.twitter.com/kBGuXhFtP1
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) September 4, 2020
That’s the kind of rumor that could create a lot of destruction. Just ask police in Minneapolis, where a false rumor two weeks ago about a supposed police shooting (it was a suicide by a double-homicide suspect) let to rioting, looting, and the destruction of several businesses in Nicollet Mall. The success of the NYPD’s rebuttal to that rumor is actually pretty remarkable, under the circumstances.
However, all parties share some blame for the situation seen in this video. Blocking roads is illegal, even for protests, except for properly permitted parades. The city should clear roads when demonstrators violate those laws. The NYPD clearly doesn’t want to do that, almost certainly because they know that the city won’t support them if the police attempted it. Demonstrators shouldn’t block roads no matter what their cause is, not just for the safety of others but also for themselves, especially at night.
Still, the driver who actually did this committed assault with a deadly weapon. The NYPD needs to track him/her down and charge them with that, just as those who riot and loot need to be prosecuted, too. There’s more than enough stupidity going around right now, and the only way to discourage it is to start imposing serious consequences for it. Law and order means enforcing it for everyone.