“A car just drove through a crowd of protesters, dragging one on his hood, during a peaceful demonstration in SE Portland,” said Twitter user Maranie R. Staab, who reported the occurrence and posted the 10-second clip online.
Staab, who recognizes herself as a fair journalist, said the crowd was assembled to protest police violence, specifically calling for the “abolition of police.”
“The group of approx. 25 temporarily occupied an intersection in an act of civil disobedience in a demand for the abolition of police,” Staab said in a second tweet.
The video immediately went viral, earning more than 1.2 million views. And people across the political spectrum were fast to show their opinions about the matter.
“There seems to be some confusion re: the circumstances here. No one attacked this car. The majority of vehicles (several hundred over the course of approx. 30 minutes) chose to drive around the block rather than confront protesters,” Staab said in a series of contextual tweets.
It is vague if the driver started the conflict, but there are at least three different people who reached through the driver’s rolled-down window to hit him.
Staab added: “Only this vehicle and several others instead turned and drove into the group. The man who ended up on the hood of the car was standing there when the car drove into him. To anyone hung up on the term ‘peaceful’, I maintain that this was a nonviolent demonstration.”
After several people who responded defended the driver’s actions, Staab repeated the crowd was peaceful: “For those who know their history, this type of civil disobedience is not uncommon. By definition, ths type of protest is the nonviolent refusal to obey a law; in this case the group temporarily blocked traffic. Unlawful or not, nothing justifies driving into a group of humans.”
She added: “The amount of vitriol and hate expressed in these comments is distressing and speaks to so much more than this relatively small incident. Ask yourself: why are you so enraged by this?”
“I didn’t expect this 10 second clip to garner so much attention. I turned off my notifications last night and woke up to over 30 private messages and several death threats. Do better, folks,” Staab concluded, providing screenshots of the messages she received.
There have been at least 23 deadly traffic crashes in 2021 in the city of Portland, according to the Portland Police Department.