Car Attacks on the Rise as Car Rams Protesters in Bloomington, Indiana
The incident adds to the growing number of car attacks against anti-racist protesters.
On Monday evening, protesters in Bloomington, Indiana were marching in support of Vauhxx Booker after he was attacked by a white mob that tried to lynch him. Hundreds of protesters were at the event when a car struck two protesters in the crowd around nightfall.
Video footage taken on the ground shows a red car with two people on the hood of the car, and the car accelerated as the victims attempt to hang on to the vehicle.
One person hit by the car was taken away in an ambulance and the other escaped without injury. Local news identified Geoff Stewart as one of the protesters hit, and he identified the driver as a white woman.
“A woman driving the vehicle came up to the stop and had started revving her engine toward us and we tried to stop her and let her know that the crowd is clearing up just wait a second,” Stewart told RTV6. “But she and her passenger both wanted to go right away so they started to push, they pushed into the woman that was with me and when she pushed again both of us went on the vehicle.”
The protests were a continuation of Black Lives Matter protests that erupted five weeks ago after the police killing of George Floyd.
The Bloomington protests did not take place in a vacuum, like many American cities, it has had its own unique story related to the issues Black Lives Matter protesters are demonstrating against.
In Bloomington’s case, tensions increased after a prominent activist and Monroe County Human Rights commissioner, Vauhxx Booker, was attacked over the Fourth of July weekend. He and other witnesses allege the white mob was attempting to lynch him and threatened the use of a noose.
Viral footage showed a group pinning Booker up against a tree as another man confronts the person filming and tells them to leave.
The attack against Booker comes as a fear of lynchings is on the rise. The death of Robert Fuller, a black man, who was found hanging from a tree near city hall in Palmdale, California was the first case to attract widespread media attention.
Fuller’s case, as well as others similar, was classified as a suicide, but many black people have expressed their doubts and concerns about this trend.
In June, Senator Rand Paul stalled an anti-lynching bill put in front of Congress that had widespread support as it passed 410-4 in the House of Representatives.
Car Attacks Against Protestors on the Rise
The United States has a recent history of car attacks against anti-racist protestors. In 2017, a driver deliberately drove into a crowd that was protesting against the Unite the Right demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The driver drove down from Ohio to participate in the Unite the Right event, killed Heather Heyer, and injured 28 others.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, a driver killed one protestor and seriously injured another in Seattle. Protesters had blocked off a freeway, but the driver by-passed a police barrier and drove into a crowd. Seattle police are still investigating the motive.
In mid-June after about three weeks of protests, Ari Weil, a terrorism researcher at the University of Chicago, compiled a list that included 18 cases of deliberate attacks against protestors using cars.
Weil argues the trend can be traced to earlier Black Lives Matter protests when memes began being shared online encouraging people to run over protesters who occupy highways and roads.
“This new wave is being celebrated. A simple Twitter or Facebook search of “run them over” will provide you a multitude of examples of people encouraging this behavior,” tweeted Weil.