A Detroit Police Department SUV plowed into a crowd of protesters who surrounded the cruiser and refused to move Sunday night, launching at least two people off the hood and hurling several others to the ground before speeding away, according to reports, citing video footage of the incident.
Some people needed treatment at local hospitals, according to reports.
Police said the cruiser’s back window was busted out during the incident, which may have triggered the driver to accelerate.
“He just floored it. He went super fast,” Jae Bass, a 24-year-old protester who was among those thrown from the vehicle, told the Detroit Free Press. “Me and a couple of my other organizers that were with me just went flinging off. We went flying off. He ran over a couple people’s arms, feet.”
A 27-second clip from cellphone video has been shared more than 13,000 times on Facebook, which flagged the footage with a disclaimer warning “the video may show violent or graphic content.”
The Detroit police on Monday released two dash cam videos, one from the unit involved in the incident. The first video shows two men who appeared to be caught off guard by the speed of the truck. A protest sign briefly covered part of the windshield before the protesters tumbled off the hood. One rolled off the SUV while the other leaped to avoid being hit by the speeding vehicle.
Reports said the protest had been mostly peaceful until the crowd started to disperse about 9:30 p.m. on Vernor Highway and Waterman Street in southwest Detroit, according to a report by Fox2 News in Detroit.
Police spokesperson Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said the confrontation was sparked after officers were trying to redirect the crowd around traffic.
The video first shows an idle police cruiser with its lights flashing, which was surrounded by dozens of protesters carrying signs and shouting “No justice! No peace!” with their fists raised.
As the demonstrators gather in front of the SUV, one of them lies down on the hood, and the SUV begins to creep forward.
Several others then sit down on the hood to prevent the patrol unit from passing.
That’s when the SUV accelerates several times in short bursts, which flung several protesters to the pavement.
At least one man appeared to be hanging on to the hood as the squad car barreled down the road out of view. The protesters are then shown chasing the vehicle.
“Detroit Police Department just ran straight through a bunch of our protesters,” Ethan Ketner, a protester who filmed the scene, wrote on Facebook, according to The Washington Post. “Myself and 10-12 others were struck by this reckless driver who somehow has a badge.”
Police were reserving comment until the incident could be fully investigated.
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