NEWTON (CBS) – Newton police are investigating whether a driver deliberately sped through a Black Lives Matter protest at City Hall.
The protest started as a peaceful demonstration of mostly teenagers promoting racial justice on the steps of City Hall but quickly escalated when, protesters say, they were taunted by a man leaving the building.
“All black lives matter? What about unborn black…” the sound trails off on video that captured the event. Protesters say it seemed to be an anti-abortion but was aggressive enough he was asked to leave.
“I think he found a crowd he could speak in front of and tried to exercise his First Amendment rights,” said protester Leyla Davis. But then, protestors say, actions spoke louder than words as the man is seen leaving and jumping into his blue pickup truck and speeding up through the young crowd.
“I don’t know if he specifically had wanted to harm someone, but I don’t think he cared if he did,” said Rachel Alpert-Wisnia, a protest organizer.
Protesters said police on the scene did little to intervene, but Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller insists an investigation is underway. “If that driver endangered the lives of peaceful protesters, we want him charged,” said Fuller.
While no one was injured, protesters said the truck came closer than the video shows. All this, they said, as young black speakers were telling their personal stories, a message they now believe has been overshadowed by someone racially insensitive.
“I can’t understand what gets you to the point where you want to intentionally hurt people, especially children, at a peaceful protest trying to make a difference,” said protest participant Lily Santana.