Déjà Vu: Another Man Plows Into ‘Black Lives Matter’ Protesters With His Car In Queens
Driver in Whitestone gets kid-glove treatment from cops after ramming through a crowd.
A second Queens driver apparently tried to mow down protesters at a small Black Lives Matter rally this week in Whitestone — just days after a Flushing man loosed similar violence in the same spot, leading to charges of attempted murder.
In a video taken on Monday and originally posted to Facebook, a middle-aged white man is seen ramming his car into a small crowd of protesters at the intersection of Cross Island Parkway and Clintonville Street, where about a dozen young people were hanging signs and chanting against police brutality. The footage shows the driver accelerating the car and then plowing it into a demonstrator, who gets thrown to the side.
The full one-minute-and-thirty-one-second video starts off with protesters jumping on the car and hurling what look like plastic water bottles at it, while cops nearby try to shove them away — in an apparent attempt to protect the 3,000-pounds of metal and its occupant.
Another racist tried to run over protestors at the site again!!!
Whitestone has a racism problem. pic.twitter.com/Mi3SX9GZAk
— Ali (@GreatAli5) June 9, 2020
But a commenter on the Facebook video tells a different side of the story, claiming that the unidentified man inside the car instigated the violence by trying to run down peaceful protesters.
“First of all, he came up to my bf and I, driving and acting aggressively, other than trying to run us down and giving us the middle finger, he threw a large gulp cup of water at me and still tried to run people over on the side, after he drove around in order to come back and then that’s where the video started. We were peacefully protesting until this racist man tried to run people over and disrespected me,” according to the woman’s account.
Protesters can be heard in the video yelling at police to “put the car in park,” as the cops casually stop the man from driving away while berating the young people for shouting “racist” and “dirty fuck.”
One cop shouts back at the young protesters, “Hey, stop!”
The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the incident, but the video shows officers gently putting the man in handcuffs and walking him away as protestors chant “Black Lives Matter.”
Queens — among the most heavily immigrant counties in the nation — is nonetheless emerging as an epicenter of racist pushback to the Black Lives Matter protests, at least in its old-line white neighborhoods, the historic home of some of New York’s most infamous racist killings.
The violent attack pictured in the video comes just six days after 54-year-old Frank Cavalluzzi, who had knives strapped to his arms, allegedly used his car as a weapon in order to try to mow people down on the sidewalk at the same intersection; two days later, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz charged Cavalluzzi with attempted murder. And it comes three days after another white man allegedly attempted to shoot and used a car to chase two black men out of the Queens neighborhood of Jamaica. Katz charged that man, Yosef Aranbayev, with assault as a hate crime and attempted murder as a hate crime, according to the New York Post.
In a third Whitestone incident, at what looks like the same intersection of Cross Island Parkway at Clintonville Street, another white man also was caught on video last week ripping down “Black Lives Matter” signs and calling the neighborhood a “white town,” the Post reported.
President Trump, a Queens native, defeated Hillary Clinton in Whitestone in 2016 with 52 percent of the vote, one of only five neighborhoods in his hometown borough that he won.
The response of police officers to the aggressive driver recorded in the latest video contrasts greatly with police treatment of protesters captured on video elsewhere in the city. The video of Monday’s Whitestone incident shows cops attempting to stop the driver gently and without much urgency — days earlier during a protest in Brooklyn, police tackled a cyclist to the ground and punched him repeatedly for slow-riding in front of an NYPD van.
The violent car attacks on protesters are reminiscent of the killing of 32-year-old Heather Heyer by neo-Nazi James Alex Fields, 21, who drove his car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, fatally striking Heyer — a pattern of violence that’s being played out all around the country amid protests.