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A Driver Charged Through Black Lives Matter Protesters In Times Square

Some have speculated that the car was an unmarked police vehicle, but the NYPD said the car does not belong to the department.

Video of the incident, shared widely on social media, shows a black Ford Taurus driving through a group of marchers and people on bicycles in Times Square. | Reuters
Video of the incident, shared widely on social media, shows a black Ford Taurus driving through a group of marchers and people on bicycles in Times Square. | Reuters

A driver accelerated a car into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in Times Square Thursday night, and the NYPD is denying accusations that it was an unmarked police vehicle. 

Footage of the incident shared on Thursday night shows a group of protesters blocking a dark Ford Taurus from crossing an intersection. The driver then accelerates into the crowd. 

The group of demonstrators gathered in Times Square after the release of body camera footage from March that showed officers arresting Daniel Prude, a Black man, and putting a hood over his head. Prude later died of asphyxia.

Though at least one person claimed that they were injured from the vehicle, police said they had not received any reports of injuries. Protesters continued their demonstration through the city that night, according to Twitter account NYC Protest Updates 2020.

Following the incident, some speculated online that the sedan was an unmarked police car, and witnesses shared video footage that showed police escorting counter-protesters in Times Square into the same car that drove into the crowd. One of the counter-protesters could be seen wearing an American flag T-shirt and what appears to be a MAGA hat.

NowThis reached out to the NYPD, as well as the person who shared the video on Twitter, for clarification about what the officers were appearing to do in that footage. Police told NowThis, “This remains an ongoing investigation.”

The NYPD said in a tweet that the car in question was not an NYPD vehicle and that the department is investigating the incident. A police spokesman also told the New York Daily News that officers attempted to direct the vehicle to a Times Square hotel, but the driver drove straight down 46th Street instead. 

NYC Councilmember Keith Powers tweeted on Thursday that his office is looking into the incident.

“Using a vehicle to hurt peaceful protestors is unacceptable and must be stopped,” Powers said. 

According to an NPR report, citing Ari Weil, a terrorism researcher at the University of Chicago's Chicago Project on Security and Threats, at least 50 vehicle-ramming incidents have been reported nationwide since the end of May. 

Following the release of the graphic body cam footage depicting Prude’s arrest, and a letter from Rochester’s City Council demanding changes to the city’s law enforcement, Mayor Lovely Warren announced Thursday that the officers involved in the arrest will be suspended without pay. The New York Attorney General’s office is also investigating Prude’s arrest and subsequent death.