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Counterprotesters, nationally and locally, using vehicles against police reform protesters with impunity

Sep 23, 2020 6:33 am
Counterprotesters driving vehicles into crowds of police reform protesters has been recurring all summer including a tractor-trailer on a highway in Minneapolis and a police SUV on a New York City street. It has happened locally too, including an incident Aug. 21 with a car on River Street in Troy and a motorcycle off Route 32 on July 18 in Greenville in Greene County. David Howard King reports for 518Independent that the driver of the Troy car, who was recorded driving his car through a crowd of protesters on August 21, is under investigation at his workplace. The Office of Child and Family Services says it is conducting an “internal investigation” of Robert Spinelli, who has said he was trying to get to work during that protest. A spokesperson for OCFS would not verify or debunk that claim. A recording shows Spinelli revving the engine of his black Dodge Challenger, spinning his tires, and then accelerating through the protesters. Protesters reported only minor injuries in both the Troy and Greenville incidents. King reports it is unclear whether Troy police are investigating the incident, and police in Greenville took no action with the motorcyclist. Meanwhile, in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sept. 21 proposed a law to legalize running over protesters. If his proposal passes, drivers would not be liable for injuries or deaths “caused if fleeing for safety from a mob,” the USA Today reports there have been at least 66 incidents of cars driving into protesters between May 27 to July 6 this year, Tallahassee Democrat reports.