You should probably get used to seeing headlines like this. With the expansion of the tactic of mobs of protesters and rioters blocking streets and highways, leading to attacks on vehicles and their occupants, more and more motorists seem to be deciding to risk being taken in by the police rather than being beaten or otherwise assaulted. That means that some of them, when pinned in by an angry mob, are choosing to hit the gas and let fortune sort out the rest. That’s what happened in New York City last night. A group had moved to block off 6th Street near 42nd Avenue, trapping a black SUV in their midst. A confrontation ensued and the driver wound up taking off, running over some bicycles that were in the middle of the street and knocking some of the members of the mob out of the way. And, of course, everyone taking part in the demonstration is blaming the driver, but videos of the action tell a different story. (NY Post)
An SUV driver was taken in custody after driving through a crowd and over a barrier of bicycles that Black Lives Matters protesters used to try to prevent traffic on a Midtown road, police sources said.
The confrontation between the activists and the driver of a Dodge Durango unfolded at 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue at about 9:10 p.m., according to witnesses and police.
The man was driving westbound on Sixth Avenue, when he was surrounded by roughly a dozen protesters, many on bikes, who were attempting to block access to the road for five minutes as marchers made their way to Bryant Park, an organizer told The Post.
As the ralliers tried to shut off road access, positioning themselves around the SUV, “the driver kept moving,” the organizer, who identified as Mary, 23, said.
This brief video report from the Post doesn’t capture that actual collision with the bikes but does pick up on some of the aftermath.
Some self-appointed “spokespeople” for the group were quick to try to explain to reporters that they were only trying to block the street “for a little while.” And, of course, everyone wanted to be “peaceful.”
However, the Post got a look at some now-deleted videos on social media that showed what actually happened. Once the SUV was stopped, people were immediately heard yelling “Pop his tires!” A second video showed one of the “demonstrators” doing just that, jabbing a knife into one of the SUV’s tires and letting the air out. That’s when the driver decided that discretion was the better part of valor and took off.
There’s some confusion about the current status of the driver. The initial report said that they were “taken into custody.” However, it was later reported that the man had not been arrested, so it may have been protective custody. Either way, there were no injuries reported and the only damage was to the man’s vehicle and some of the bicycles.
The spokeswoman’s claims of not really blocking the street and only needing to briefly cross it don’t hold up. The man driving the SUV wasn’t hitting bicycles that people were riding. They had been intentionally built into a roadblock to prevent traffic from passing through. And they clearly had no intention of allowing the man in the SUV to simply drive away. What was he supposed to do in that event? Wait for his windows to be smashed in and hope to escape with his life?
As I already said, you can pretty much count on seeing more of this, and it’s not the fault of the drivers. When an angry mob decides they can simply shut down streets and highways without obtaining a permit and allowing time for law enforcement to reroute traffic around a planned event, the mob is in violation of the law. When law enforcement fails to move in and clear the traffic lanes promptly and protect the drivers in the area, the city is complicit in the crime.
We’ve already seen far too many instances of vehicles being vandalized, windows being broken and people being dragged out of their cars and assaulted. If someone is caught up in a situation like this, there is no sane justification to say that they should have just sat there and allowed the mob to do as they wished, possibly at the expense of the driver’s property, safety, or even life. When you’re trapped and facing a credible threat of imminent danger, you get yourself out of the area as quickly as possible. And if the rioters offer you no route other than one that leads straight through their crowd or the obstructions they’ve erected, that’s the way you go. You can always fix your vehicle later. The same may not be true about your face.