Video taken shortly before a car plowed into New York City Black Lives Matter demonstrators shows its pro-Trump passengers getting an NYPD escort to the car.
The clip, which surfaced on Twitter, shows several NYPD Strategic Response Group officers surrounding a black Ford Taurus sedan, clearing the way for people to scurry inside the car, which has a New Jersey license plate.
The passengers are seen wearing red hats, with one of them wearing an American flag-patterned t-shirt.
A police officer is shown slamming the car door shut after the last passenger is inside, before the car drives off and the officers disperse.
Video shows NYPD officers escorting Pro-Trump counterprotesters to the car that would later be seen plowing through a crowd of protesters in NYC’s Times Square Thursday night
The New York Police Department said on Twitter that the vehicle in question was not an official department car, despite rumors that claimed otherwise
It was later revealed that one of the passengers was transgender pro-Trump activist Juliet Germanotta (in red hat Thursday night). Police had to separate Black Lives Matter supporters and Keep America Great counter-protesters as tensions flared in Times Square
The clip appears to be taken just moments before the car was caught on camera driving into the crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in Times Square shortly after 8pm Thursday.
The person who tweeted the video claimed that ‘the unmarked police car driver through protesters tonight in Times Square? driver by NYPD escorting trump supporters.’
Rumors that the car was an unmarked police car appear to have since been disproved, however, as the NYPD tweeted that ‘This auto is NOT an NYPD vehicle.’
NBC police sources also shut down speculation that the driver was an undercover cop in an unmarked police car.
Meanwhile, Gothamist reported that the car’s license plates match those of a car belonging to pro-NYPD activist Hakim Gibson.
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
Gibson reportedly bought the former police vehicle at an auction and added a push bumper and spotlight to it, making it look more like the police car it had previously been.
On Friday, the day after the incident, pro-Trump activist Juliet Germanotta – who allegedly defaced the Black Lives Matter mural outside Trump Tower in July – told news outlets that she and five others were inside the car.
Germanotta told Freedom News that she and the others in her group had gone to counterprotest that night, but were met by hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters who ‘started verbally harassing and taunting us.’
She said that the protesters had blocked their path and, at one point, hit one of counterprotesters, knocking her hat off her head. She said that the NYPD officers led the group down the street and escorted them to the car, while 300 protesters ‘started verbally harassing and taunting us.’
‘My life was verbally threatened on multiple occasions,’ Germanotta claimed. ‘People said that they were going to get me, they were going to hurt me, they were going to kill me, that my life doesn’t matter.’
She said that once they were inside the car, the protesters tried to open the car doors and also hit it.
‘The driver then drove through to try to get us to safety,’ she said.
She described the driver as being ‘a civilian trying to protect us and get out of harm’s way.’
Germanotta said that she saw her ‘life flash in front of me’ and that she thought she ‘was going to die last night.’
‘Black lives do matter,’ she noted, ‘but I say all lives matter and it’s so scary to see what’s going on, people who want to hurt someone because they have different beliefs that are more conservative.’
Germanotta told Gothamist that she, the driver and the four other passengers went to speak with police detectives on Friday morning and that they were released without charges.
The NYPD has not yet confirmed whether it will be charging the driver of the car, as the case is still under investigation.
Sources told NBC that the driver ‘was found to be a part of the Keep America Great rally’ and that the group had ‘exchanged heated words’ with the BLM supporters.
Photographs taken at the time show cops trying to keep the two groups apart.
The NYPD said no one was hurt during the incident, and they are currently investigating.
Footage shared by DataInput on Twitter shows hundreds of protesters grouped together in Times Square Thursday night to protest the death of Daniel Prude – a 41-year-old black man who suffocated to death while in police custody.
Video shows the black sedan arrive at an intersection with a group of people on bicycles attempting to stop it from moving forward as the crowd walks across the street.
However, 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.
NBC quotes police sources as saying the driver was ‘was found to be a part of the Keep America Great rally’ and that the group had ‘exchanged heated words’ with the BLM supporters. Photographs taken at the time show cops trying to keep the two groups apart
The small group of counter-protesters draped American flags around their shoulders as they headed out to Times Square. One wore an ‘All Lives Matter’ t-shirt
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.
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.
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
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’
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 DailyMail.com 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.
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
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.’