A video shows a car plowing through a group of demonstrators Thursday at a New York City protest for Daniel Prude, a Black man who died following an encounter with police in Rochester, New York.
As the rally in Times Square came to a close, a black Ford Taurus sedan barreled down West 46th Street before lurching forward into a crowd of protesters, according to NBC New York. A spokesperson for the New York City Police Department told NBC News on Friday that they did not have information regarding incident but that an investigation was ongoing.
The apparent driver of the car in the video was seen earlier that evening among a group of counterprotesters wearing a “Keep America Great” hat, police told NBC New York. The counterprotesters had at some point clashed verbally with the main rally.
When Fox5NY asked NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea if there was a crime committed, Shea said, “Well, that’s what we want to see as part of the investigation. We’d like to interview both sides.”
In a tweet on Thursday evening, the NYPD said that the vehicle was “not an NYPD vehicle.”
No official complaint has been filed yet.
Prude died after a March encounter with police in Rochester. Police restrained him with handcuffs, covered him with a “spit hood” and forced him down onto asphalt. Prude’s relatives released police video of the incident earlier this week and claimed it shows officers used excessive force to control him.
Prude had apparently told police he suffered from COVID-19, prompting officers to put a hood on his head, apparently to prevent him from spitting on them. He was visiting from Chicago and suffered from mental illness, his brother, Joe Prude, told reporters.
Seven police officers involved in the incident have been suspended with pay, the mayor of Rochester, New York, announced Thursday.
Michael Mazzeo, president of the Rochester Police Locust Club, the union representing city officers, said Friday that his members had been told for months they did nothing wrong in their response to Prude.
“The message that was conveyed from the chief’s officer at that time was that there was no concerns with the actions or our members and that they had followed correct protocols per their training,” Mazzeo told reporters.
He also said that one of the officers who has been suspended wasn’t at the scene where Prude was handcuffed and had a spit hood put on him.
A Rochester Police Department spokeswoman on Friday declined comment on Mazzeo’s assertion that the officers had been credited with following proper protocol. She said she did not immediately know if Mazzeo was correct in his belief that one of the suspended officers wasn’t at the scene.