A truck drove through a group of protesters in Hollywood on Thursday night, striking at least one person as it sped through the crowd, according to the police and news footage from the scene.
Demonstrators had gathered at 7 p.m. at Hollywood Forever Cemetery before marching through the streets of Hollywood.
They were decrying the announcement Wednesday that just one of three Louisville, Ky., police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death in a bungled raid of her apartment, had been charged with a crime. The one indicted officer, Brett Hankison, was charged not in connection with Taylor’s death but for allegedly firing blindly into her apartment building.
The charging decision, anticipated for months, has infuriated people throughout the country and spurred large protests, including one Wednesday night that drew hundreds of people to downtown Los Angeles.
On Thursday, the group in Hollywood was walking down Sunset Boulevard, video posted to Twitter and YouTube shows, when a dark-colored pickup accelerated among the protesters, striking one directly and hurtling the person backward. The truck then sped down Sunset Boulevard, nearly hitting other people who leaped out of the way, the footage shows.
Capt. Steve Lurie, who leads the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood Division, said officers stopped and identified the motorist, although they didn’t immediately arrest him. The motorist told them that protesters had attacked his car first, according to Lurie, who added that officers have noted damage to the car.
Christian Monterrosa, a freelance photojournalist who was following the protest, said the truck was traveling against the flow of the crowd — west, when the group was walking east — when protesters began crowding the vehicle, trying to bring it to a stop.
“I would say the truck instigated the incident, definitely,” Monterrosa said, noting that other motorists had yielded to the demonstrators.
Nicholas Prange, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said paramedics were called just before 9 p.m. to the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Seward Street. An ambulance transported at least one person to a hospital with minor injuries, according to the LAPD. Lurie said the person was in stable condition and refused to cooperate with police.
Caution: Video contains graphic content and strong language.
Moments after the incident and a few blocks east on Sunset Boulevard, a white Prius tried to drive through the fringes of a group of demonstrators who had gathered in an intersection, according to the LAPD and footage from KCAL-TV Channel 9’s chopper, Sky9.
“It wasn’t traveling at a fast speed — it was inching forward, trying to get past, and that upset people,” said Monterrosa, the photojournalist.
People in the crowd began striking the car’s windows and doors, the news footage shows. After the Prius cleared the crowd, a black pickup truck with several people sitting in the bed gave chase, accelerated ahead of the Prius and pulled to an abrupt halt. A man got out of the truck and, according to the footage, appeared to try to pull the driver out of the Prius.
The Prius reversed and collided with a green Mustang convertible, which was associated with the protest, according to the LAPD. A person got out of the convertible and began striking the Prius with a flagpole, the footage shows, and another person arrived on a skateboard, which he used to smash the Prius’ windshield. The motorist drove off but was detained a few blocks away by the LAPD. No one was injured in the incident, according to police.
Police have identified the motorists involved in both incidents, which were still being investigated, the LAPD said in a statement. Lurie, the Hollywood captain, said detectives will review whether the motorists, both of whom maintain they were accosted by protesters, are “the suspect of a hit-and-run or the victim of an assault.” Cases could be presented to either county or city prosecutors for charging consideration, he said.
Meanwhile, protesters continued to march along Fountain Avenue, just south of Sunset. Mo Broughton, 32, of Hollywood used a megaphone to urge protesters to stay behind vehicles that were part of the protest.
“Please stay behind the cars — it’s for your protection,” she yelled.
An estimated 350 people took to the streets in Hollywood on Thursday night, according to Lurie. Most were peaceful but about 20 were “violent,” the captain said, painting graffiti and lighting fires in a pair of trash cans.
Times staff writer Kevin Rector contributed to this report.