A Black Lives Matter protest turned violent when a Detroit police officer drove his cruiser through a crowd of protesters Sunday night. Video of the tense moment, shared to Twitter by demonstrator Ethan Ketner, showed a small crowd surrounding the police cruiser before it abruptly accelerated. In the 27-second clip, onlookers could be heard screaming as the officer took off, carrying several protesters on the hood of the cruiser while others were thrown to the side. The vehicle can be seen stopping briefly before again accelerating.
Detroit Police Department drove into 10-12 protesters including myself. Multiple people are going to the hospital. #NoJusticeNoPeace #detroitpolice #GeorgeFloyd #BreonnaTayor #PoliceBrutality pic.twitter.com/etj3a6ejzN— Activist Ethan Ketner (@DJEazyTwist) June 29, 2020
According to Jae Bass, one of the protesters thrown from the hood of the vehicle who spoke to the Detroit Free Press, officers had been attempting to block the demonstration from returning to Patton Park at around 9:30 p.m. He and the others attempted to walk through the roadblock. Bass said that the incident occurred after he stood in front of the cruiser in an attempt to protect his fellow protesters when he noticed several of the police vehicles beginning to move. According to Bass, the officer "went super fast," causing protesters to go "flying off." He said that he "was just holding onto the car" and that he could "feel him speeding up and then he did one of these and he flinged me off the car."
According to Bass, the officer "ran over a couple people's arms, feet." A witness told WXYZ that he saw a medic treating several protesters who had suffered wounds to their arms. The severity of the injuries is unknown.
In a statement, Detroit police spokeswoman Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood said that the back window of the cruiser had been broken out by protesters. The Detroit Police Department is currently investigating the incident, including the actions of both the protesters and the officer involved.
The Sunday incident marked just the latest example of rising tensions between police and protesters, who are marching against police brutality in response to the police killing of Minneapolis man George Floyd. The incident followed a similar incident that occurred during a Brooklyn demonstration in late May, during which a New York City police officer could be seen pushing a barricade into protesters with his cruiser. That incident was also captured on video.