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Car plows through a crowd of BLM supporters in Times Square

Car plows through crowd of BLM supporters in Times Square: Demonstrators in NYC are injured as they protest the death of Daniel Prude who was ‘suffocated by cops with a spit hood’ as violence breaks out in Rochester where it happened

  • An unidentified vehicle drove through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in New York City’s Times Square
  • Footage of the incident was uploaded by a witness to Twitter
  • The NYPD said no complaints have been made, but witnesses said several people suffered injuries
  • Witnesses initially identified the vehicle as an unmarked police car, but the NYPD denied that claim
  • Separate videos taken Thursday night allege one driver had a handgun near Columbus Circle
  • The Black Lives Matter protest was in response to the death of Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old black man who suffocated while in police custody
  • The NYPD said counter-protesters were at the scene and clash between the two groups may have spurred the incident  

An investigation has been launched in New York City after a car drove through a crowd of Black Lives Matter demonstrators and left them desperately screaming for medics.

Authorities said the frightening incident happened on Thursday evening in Times Square during a protest over the death of Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old man who suffocated to death while in police custody.  

The anti-racism demonstration was met with counter-protesters in the form of President Trump and Back the Blue supporters, authorities said.

A number of city officials have demanded the New York Police Department review the ‘disturbing’ action taken against peaceful protesters. 

Cell phone footage taken Thursday night shows a group of Black Lives Matter protesters standing in front of a black vehicle

The black vehicle accelerates through the crowd, stops briefly and then leaves the scene as protesters call for medics 

Footage shared by DataInput on Twitter shows hundreds of protesters grouped together in Times Square as rain fell over the Big Apple.   

‘No justice, no peace!’ the group chants. 

A handful of New Yorkers on bicycles stand in front of a black Ford Taurus near an intersection around 8pm. 

It appears the group is attempting to stop the vehicle from moving forward as the crowd walks across the street. 

The car briefly drives forward, pushing the group of protesters back, before suddenly accelerating into the crowd.   

Screams echo through the crowd as people try to maneuver out of the way and bikes scatter along the street.

The vehicle stops for just for a moment before speeding off and out of the area.  

While initial reports at the scene speculated that the vehicle was an unmarked police car after the New York Police Department denied the accusation.

The New York Police Department said on Twitter that the vehicle in question was not an official department car

‘There is an ongoing investigation into an incident in Times Square involving a black Taurus sedan. This auto is NOT an NYPD vehicle,’ the agency wrote on Twitter.

Witnesses at the scene said they saw police driving the vehicle and a search of the license plate showed it listed as ‘police interceptor.’

Authorities have not identified the driver and it’s unclear if the car was a decommissioned police vehicle. 

The department said that no complaints or injuries had been reported around 10pm, but photos and witnesses at the scene said some people sustained minor wounds.

Additional footage shared by Gwen Hogan with the Gothamist shows people calling out for medics as people moan in pain.

A man has his hand bandaged after a car carrying counter protestors fled the scene and drove through a crowd blocking the road during a protest for Daniel Prude and Black Lives Matter in Times Square, Manhattan, New York

One woman assesses her injuries after being hit by a car during a Black Lives Matter protest in Times Square 

At least one man was bandaged at the scene and other photos showed people with bruises. 

‘I’m in shock. I’m just happy to be alive right now,’ Lora Gettelfinger, a 33-year-old protester who was struck in the leg by the car, told Gothamist.

Qaaree McDaniel said he was assigned as ‘security detail’ for the protest when the unidentified driver plowed through the crowd.

‘I saw people getting hit, so I’m trying to get out of the way. Luckily I made it out just in time, but the car hit my bike, and my bike hit both of my legs,’ said McDaniel, 23.

He noted that authorities at the scene reportedly had a blasé reaction to the incident.

‘Just seeing how cops reacted, how they were so passive about it, it goes to show you where they stand,’ McDaniel added.  

Qaaree McDaniel: ‘I saw people getting hit, so I’m trying to get out of the way. Luckily I made it out just in time, but the car hit my bike, and my bike hit both of my legs’

Police said a group of counter-protesters, including Trump and Back the Blue supporters, were also at Times Square on Thursday

Police said the incident may be related to a disagreement between the two groups, but this has not yet been confirmed 

Thursday’s protest in New York City was in response to the death of Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old black man who suffocated to death while in police custody 

The Black Lives Matter protesters regrouped after the incident and continued marching towards Columbus Circle.

In a second video taken by DataInput, protesters at Columbus Circle claimed a someone in a different vehicle at the scene had a gun.  

The handgun is not visible in footage online, but has reached out to the NYPD for confirmation.

Authorities told ABC 7 that episode may have involved demonstrators from a pro-Trump rally and Black Lives Matter supporters.

A number of counter protesters, several carrying American flags, were seen at the demonstration as well.  

Thursday night’s commotion mirrors that of a similar incident in Aurora, Colorado, where a Jeep sped through a large Black Lives Matter protest on a blocked highway.

The scene turned chaotic after the blue Jeep crashed into another vehicle and one man in the crowd opened fire on I-225 earlier this year.

During the incident, several demonstrators were forced to flee from the Jeep and one woman appeared to fall 20 feet off the side of the highway to dodge the vehicle. 

Three New York City officials have spoken out to condemn the footage and request the New York Police Department hold the driver accountable.   

Some New York City officials have spoken out after footage of the incident was shared to social media Thursday evening 

Senator Brad Hoylman was among other politicians who demanded the NYPD investigate the matter 

Keith Powers: Using a vehicle to hurt peaceful protestors is unacceptable and must be stopped

‘This video shows an incredibly reckless and disturbing action through a lawful protest,’ wrote Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

‘We must get to the bottom of it. We need accountability.’

Senator Brad Hoylman also called the incident ‘disturbing’ and said: ‘We have asked the City directly as to the identity of the driver and its investigation.’

Hoylman added that since July 6, there have been at least 66 incidents of cars ramming into Black Lives Matter protesters. 

Council member Kieth Powers said: ‘Using a vehicle to hurt peaceful protestors is unacceptable and must be stopped.’

The Black Lives Matter protest on Thursday joined several others around the country after Daniel Prude died in March, but footage of the incident resurfaced this month.

Daniel Prude was left brain dead after the incident and later died on March 30 after he was taken off of life support – seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester

Prude was left brain dead after his March 23 encounter with Rochester PD. He died seven days later when he was taken off life support. 

Prude’s brother Joe had phoned 911 for assistance as his sibling began suffering a mental health episode.   

Prude, who had been visiting Rochester from his hometown of Chicago, walked out of Joe’s house at around 3am in frigid temperatures, wearing only underwear, a tank top and socks.

While the fatal incident occurred on March 23 – weeks before George Floyd would die in Minnesota police custody in May, sparking nationwide protests – Prude’s death received no public attention

As he made his way through the neighborhood, he started removing his clothes. Police claim he also smashed windows. Several other people encountered him, with at least one calling 911 to report his erratic behavior.

Officers placed a hood over his head and pressed his face into the pavement until he stopped breathing. 

His family shared video of his final moments to the public this week, prompting Mayor Lovely Warren to suspend all seven officers involved in the death. 

The Monroe County medical examiner ruled his death a ‘homicide caused by complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint’. The report also listed excited delirium and acute intoxication by phencyclidine, or PCP, as contributing factors. 

‘I have never shied away from taking action and holding our police — or anyone that fails in their duties in our community — accountable,’ Mayor Warren told reporters Thursday. ‘That is why I am suspending the officers in question today, against the advice of counsel.

‘You cannot stand around and allow these types of things to happen. You have a duty,’ she continued. ‘Mr. Daniel Prude was failed by the police department, our mental health care system, our society, and he was failed by me.’

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