Two Occupy Oakland demonstrators were hit by a car and seriously injured during the Nov. 2 General Strike in what appears to be an intentional attack, but police let the driver go, sparking outrage among the protestors and prompting an investigation by the Oakland PD.
Two occupiers were hit in downtown Oakland last night by a man driving a silver Mercedes-Benz sedan, with one dragged 30 feet and both sustaining serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Eyewitness reports say that after hitting the pedestrians, the car slowed and then accelerated.
The driver was unable to break through the wall of Occupy Oakland protestors, which seems to have been the reason for the driver's attack in the first place. While some reports say protestors were pounding on his car, most report he was angry at not being able to go through a green light.
The unidentified driver, witnesses told Business Insider and on-site bloggers from Pythagoreanism, had been waiting for pedestrian traffic at Occupy Oakland to clear, and was growing increasingly impatient. He then pressed on the gas.
The outraged crowd slowed the car to a stop after the two Occupy Oakland protestors were injured. They circled around the Mercedes, and threw coffee onto the car's roof while shouting at the driver and front-seat passenger. The person driving, a white male who looks to be between 18-24 years of age, switched seats with his passenger, a white female also aged 18-24, in an apparent attempt to disguise who was driving the vehicle at the time of collision.
Once police arrived on the scene, the demonstrators told Oakland PD of the driver's actions during the Occupy General Strike and his subsequent attempt to place blame on his female passenger. The pair inside the car switched seats, and appeared to exhange some words with a police officer. Then, according to eyewitness reports and video from the scene, police stepped back... and the driver took off.
The shocked crowd immediately became livid, screaming at the police officer, who left without addressing the crowd.
Occupy Oakland Violence
Both victims were in serious or critical condition when EMTs arrived to treat them. The victim's identities and current conditions are unknown, but photos from the scene depict a young African-American male and an Asian or white female, despite some witnesses claiming both victims were black. The woman is wearing a neck brace and has a severely broken leg. The male is also wearing a neck brace, and has his head supported by ambulance workers.
Occupy Oakland, which has seen more violence than any of the other Occupy Wall Street movement so far, is in an uproar after the Nov. 2 attacks. BART Police Deputy Chief Daniel Hartwig told The San Francisco Chronicle that police were gathering information now, with Oakland PD planning a full investigation. It was a pretty volatile situation, he said. There is no arrest at this time, but that doesn't mean there won't be if there's a need for an arrest.
Following the Oct. 25 protest and raid that left many injured by beanbag rounds and tear gas inhalation and put Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen in the hospital with a fractured skull, protestors are outraged that Oakland PD would let a driver go when he hit multiple pedestrians, tried to drive away, and then tried to blame the incident on his passenger.
Occupy Oakland General Strike on Nov. 2 began as a peaceful and cooperative affair. The city of Oakland was largely shut down because of the strike, but Mayor Jean Quan gave city workers the day off, and firefighters were seen serving hamburgers to the demonstrators. Hours later, however, police began dealing out tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper balls once again, and the attack on the two Occupy Oakland protestors fueled tensions and anger between cops and demonstrators.
Below, see photos and video taken at the scene, which show the driver, the victims of his attack, and the aftermath of the collision.
After the Hit: If That Was Me, I'd Be Dead!: