Video captured by World Magazine reporter Sophia Lee Hyun and shared on Twitter this afternoon appears to document an altercation between an LAPD officer or officers inside an SUV and a small band of protesters making their way through downtown.
Omg. It’s happening. pic.twitter.com/ynNwkT7Crs
— Sophia Lee 소현 (@SophiaLeeHyun) May 31, 2020
The video depicts a police SUV stopped at a crosswalk on a mostly empty street adjacent to Pershing Square. Two people stand directly in front of the vehicle, with a modest gathering of marchers considerably farther behind. After a moment of hesitation at the crosswalk, as protesters chant and appear to begin walking towards the SUV, the driver swerves and accelerates as a man falls to the ground and appears to briefly slip beneath the vehicle’s front end. Rather than stop, the vehicle rapidly reverses into the empty street, then turns and speeds away.
According to Hyun the victim was not severely injured. “The guy is OK,” she tweeted shortly after posting the initial video, “He got a scrape on his ankle and is in shock.”
The incident was also captured from above by KTLA cameras.
— J (@oh_jazzio) May 31, 2020
An LAPD spokesperson informed Los Angeles that “the Los Angeles Police Department is aware of the incident that occurred during one of the many spontaneous protests in downtown Los Angeles” and stated that the department is “looking into the matter.” No information was provided about the status of the officer driving the SUV.
The sight of a police vehicle striking a civilian is reminiscent of a number of reports from Saturday’s protests in New York City. That city’s mayor has called today for a formal investigation into law enforcement behavior after at least two police SUVs were documented plowing into a group of demonstrators.
“NYPD officers just drove an SUV into a crowd of human beings,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about the situation. “They could’ve killed them and we don’t know how many they injured. NO ONE gets to slam an SUV through a crowd of human beings.”
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.