Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office plans to investigate the incident of a driver who plowed into a group of Black Lives Matter protesters as well as police who escorted the car beforehand at Times Square on Sept. 3, an lawyer for the victims and a civil rights leader claimed Friday.
“We are grateful for the district attorney of Manhattan to open a criminal investigation with regards of the actions of the driver in that vehicle as well as the police,” said attorney Sanford Rubenstein at a press conference outside the DA’s Lower Manhattan offices on Sept. 11.
Rubenstein and civil rights advocate Reverend Kevin McCall of Brooklyn met with Assistant District Attorney Charles Whitt Friday afternoon to interview five people who were part of a group of counter-protesters coming from a small nearby pro-Donald Trump rally when they were mowed down with a black Ford Taurus equipped with a bull bar at 46th Street and Seventh Avenue just after 8 p.m., an event which was captured in dramatic video footage on Twitter.
Car drives through protesters, Times Square, New York City, Thursday, September 3, 2020 pic.twitter.com/yMadwNYJSI
— DataInput (@datainput) September 4, 2020
“These Trump supporters and these Blue Lives Matter supporters are enjoying their freedom right now, but we made it very clear to the district attorney’s office that we would not rest until every supporter, every person that drove their car which is a felony assault be brought in handcuffs,” said McCall. “And we want to make sure that every officer that is responsible for leading them into the protesters be arrested and fired, because they did a criminal act as well.
DA Vance’s press office did not immediately return a request for comment confirming an investigation.
The five victims were among a crowd of several hundred protesters calling for justice for Daniel Prude, a Black man who died by asphyxiation in March after police in Rochester put a hood over his head as he knelt on the ground, handcuffed and naked.
The counter-protesters came from a small nearby pro-Trump rally in Duffy Square and other video on Twitter showed police ordering them into the Taurus before taking off.
One of the car’s passengers reportedly was Juliet Germanotta, who was busted several times for defacing the Black Lives Matter Mural outside Trump Tower, Freedom News reported.
An NYPD spokesman told the New York Daily News that cops had tried to direct the car underneath the Marriott Hotel and away from the crowd but that the driver headed down 46th Street.
McCall claimed that cops acted criminally because they should have known that the right-wing counter-protesters did not have good intentions and should have instead directed them elsewhere.
“The police knows that these people didn’t have the right intentions on the supporters,” he said.
The NYPD press office did not immediately return a request for comment.
The victims were not at the press conference outside the downtown offices both their attorney and the activist declined the press a chance to speak to them, saying the five people feared retribution from Trump supporters and the police, who leaked out their names, according to McCall.
“They received different threats from different Trump supporters because their names are released, so they don’t want to speak publicly they don’t want to be seen at all because of this,” said McCall. “They’re scared of two people, the Police Department and the Trump supporters, that’s out there on the street, which are criminals, because that’s what they did on that day.