NYPD identifies owner of car that drove through BLM protesters in Times Square

Video shared on social media captured the incident in Times Square

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Saturday, September 5, 2020
Demonstrators gather night after car drives into protesters
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Josh Einiger reports protesters are blaming police for failing to arrest the driver, who drove his car into a group of demonstrators.

TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Police say they have identified the owner of a car seen on video driving through a crowd of protesters in Times Square Thursday night, and they plan to interview as many people involved as possible.

Demonstrators gathered at the Crossroads of the World Friday night, protesting what happened there the day before.

Protesters blamed the police for failing to arrest the driver, who drove his car into a group of protesters.

The incident happened when a Black Lives Matter march encountered the vehicle, whose occupants had previously participated in a pro-Trump counter-protest in Duffy Square.

The black Ford Taurus police interceptor was eastbound on 46th Street when it stopped at a red light at Broadway, and at that moment, the protest -- comprised of a few hundred people -- started to move in that direction onto 46th Street.

A car drove through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in Times Square Thursday night

The car involved appears to be formerly used as a police cruiser, complete with a bull bar in the front, likely purchased at a surplus auction. Police say it was not an NYPD vehicle.

The protesters were said to have recognized the vehicle from the prior counter-protests and surrounded it, including a bicyclist who blocked the car from moving further.

Two people struck the car window, one with a punch and one banging on it. At that point, the car started to accelerate through the crowd and ultimately sped away, making an illegal right onto Broadway into traffic.

"We are lucky there was no vehicle collision," a police official said.

The counter protesters were previously on foot when they were confronted by the much larger group of Black Lives Matter protesters, police escorted them to their vehicle for their safety.

But once the counter protesters were in the car, the driver drove away from police, down West 46th Street, where it was surrounded.

Cellphone video from the scene shows a car appear to drive through a group of protesters in Times Square.

There were six people total in the car, including Juliet Germanotta, who has been arrested at least three times for vandalizing the Black Lives Matter mural in front of Trump Tower by pouring paint on it.

She spoke as she left the Midtown North NYPD Precinct on Friday.

"Our lives were in jeopardy," she said. "Over 300 people, part of the other protest, started verbally harassing and taunting us. Started following us, when police tried to escort us up 46th Street. We then proceeded to get into a car. The protesters got 46th Street, blocked us in, started trying to open the car, hit the car. The driver then drove through to try to get us to safety."


Juliet Germanotta was a passenger in the vehicle that drove through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in Times Square Thursday.

Germanotta said that the Black Lives Matter protesters had assaulted someone in her group, striking her and ripping a hat off her head, prior to them being escorted away by police.

"My life was verbally threatened," she said. "Multiple occasions, people said they were going to get me, they were going to hurt me, they were going to kill me, that my life doesn't matter."

She said she had no idea what was about to happen once she got in the car.

"As soon as the car started moving, so many people came in front of the car on 46th Street and would not let us pass," she said. "I heard people trying to open the door. I heard something really heavy hit the car, and that's when we just went."

So far, no one has come forward or claimed they were hurt, though the protesters have their own volunteer medical unit to treat minor injuries.

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After interviews are complete, detectives will determine if there is a need to investigate further.

Councilmember Keith Powers says his office will look into it.


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