A video of a confrontation between a driver in a Mercedes and two protesters on Wednesday night is just one of many controversial incidents that occurred during last week’s Occupy Oakland demonstrations. From the Chronicle’s report last week:
A car struck two Occupy Oakland protesters tonight as they marched with a crowd along Broadway, and an angry mob surrounded the car as emergency workers tended to the injured. The driver, who was not identified, sat in his silver Mercedes-Benz sedan after the 7:30 p.m. incident while hundreds of people screamed at him through his closed windows. BART police officers who were guarding nearby transit stations responded, questioned the driver and several witnesses, then let the driver leave the scene at 11th Street and Broadway in his car.
Here’s video of the incident and the aftermath:
KGO today put up an extended interview with Lance Lavendure, one of the protesters struck by the car. Lavendure says he still doesn’t know who the driver is and that he and the other pedestrian injured “want to know why he’s not in jail.” Lavendure is using a cane to walk as a result of the collision, and KGO is reporting his companion’s ankle was “crushed.”
BART, for its part, defended the release of the driver by officers, and on Friday released this statement and timeline of events. The transit agency said the incident is being investigated by the Oakland Police Department, which has jurisdiction, and that it was the OPD who “advised BART Police to release the driver of the involved vehicle.”
BART Police on the scene observed no evidence of alcohol use by the driver. The BART Lieutenant at the EOC (Emegency Operations Center) relayed this information to an Oakland Police Lieutenant at the EOC, who then reported it to a higher-ranking member (Deputy Chief) of the Oakland Police Department. Oakland Police requested BART Police gather information from the driver, his vehicle, the injured pedestrians, including the extent of injuries and the destination hospital; and to turn over the information to Oakland Police for investigation. Oakland Police further advised BART Police to release the driver of the involved vehicle.