Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
People taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Reno, Nevada, for Indigenous Peoples Day and against the Dakota Access Pipeline were plowed down by an 18-year-old male driver in a pickup truck Monday.
Video footage obtained by the Associated Press and released Tuesday shows the truck speeding directly into the crowd. A 59-year-old woman has been hospitalized and is in serious condition, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports, and three other protesters were hurt.
Several other videos filmed by participants also emerged on social media Tuesday, and in them the driver can be seen arguing with demonstrators before revving his engine and speeding forward, hitting multiple people. Amidst screams, the truck slows briefly after knocking a woman to the ground but then drives directly over her. He then speeds up again, hits and drags one activist and sends another person to the ground before driving away.
“Members of our extended family were attacked, hit and run over by a truck during a peaceful #IndigenousPeoplesDay march in Reno, NV yesterday,” the Dakota Access protest camp Sacred Stone Camp wrote on Facebook Tuesday. “As you can see in the footage the truck drove into the crowd while revving its engine before plowing through our people. We send prayers and strength to the courageous warriors who stood their ground!”
The protest comprised about 40 Native Americans and allies peacefully chanting, marching, and occupying an intersection in downtown Reno in a demonstration that called for the abolition of Columbus Day and the creation of Indigenous Peoples Day instead, while also expressing solidarity with tribes battling against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
When the pickup truck approached the rally, demonstrators—including a woman holding a baby—gathered around it and asked the driver to turn away from the protest. He refused.
“I heard the driver ask one of the protesters, ‘Do you want me to kill your homies?’ and that really set everybody off,” said rally participant Taylor Wayman to AP.
“Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said Tuesday she takes the matter ‘very seriously,'” AP writes. Police chief Jason Soto said the driver was cooperating with police, and “described some of the footage as ‘very horrifying,'” according to the Guardian.
Yet the driver has neither been arrested nor charged for what one injured protester described as “attempted vehicular homicide” and “a hate crime.”
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. First published in CommonDreams.
The pickup truck at first stopped in front of the demonstration, which included children, elderly people, and disabled people, and protesters attempted to reason with the driver before he plowed through the crowd. (Screenshot: Autumn Henry/Facebook)