Occupy DC protestors hit by car didn’t jump in front of it, students say

By Maria Romas
Staff writer

A car hit three protestors Friday night — police say those injured jumped in front of the car. Three students from this university say otherwise.

Todd Waters, Melissa Etheridge and Fatima Ali, members of the Occupy UMD coalition, said they were grazed by a silver Lexus before it barreled into three protesters outside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

“After I got out of the way, [the driver] hit the gas and rammed into three others,” said Waters, a freshman letters and sciences major.

The car hit the protesters and dragged one woman about 20 feet before she fell into the street. The car then sped off and tried to run a red light, Waters said, adding that he chased after the car and jotted down its license plate number while it was stuck at the light. He said he then asked a police officer in the protest’s escort to pull over the driver. 

“I overheard the police talking about what violation the protesters could be found in violation of after they pulled the driver over, and when they asked me if I was witness and I said ‘yes,’ the first thing they asked me was if I knew if the light was green and what the crosswalk was,” Waters said. “After I said I didn’t know, they turned around and walked away. They didn’t take my statement — they didn’t even take the victims’ statement.”

The driver was not charged with any crime, according to the Washington Post.

“They let him go that night and some of the protesters were really mad about that,” said Etheridge, a junior environmental science and policy major. “I know that at least two protesters were still upset while I was there at the end of the night.”

Waters and other Occupy DC protesters staged a sit-in outside the D.C. Police Headquarters yesterday morning, after which police took the victims’ statements and re-opened the investigation.

“Our intersection was super peaceful all night long,” Waters said of the protest Friday night. “I just don’t know why this happened.”

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