North Carolina authorities have charged a woman with serious felonies after they say she hit two protesters demonstrating in the street this week,
Video of the incident, however, has provided additional insight into what happened.
What are the details?
Elizabeth City police arrested 41-year-old Lisa Michelle O’Quinn after she allegedly hit two people on Monday who were “peacefully protesting and exercising their constitutional rights,” according to a press release.
Protesters were demonstrating in the roadway and blocking traffic from moving as normal. Elizabeth City has been the site of demonstrations for about a month after police there killed Andrew Brown Jr., a black man whose death a prosecutor has ruled “justified.”
Police charged O’Quinn with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill by use of a motor vehicle, one count of careless and reckless conduct and one count of unsafe movement.
Investigators even said they are gathering evidence to determine if O’Quinn committed a hate crime. O’Quinn is white and the two people she allegedly hit are black women. Both victims were taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries, then later released.
“The police department is currently investigating this matter and we will be presenting facts and findings in this case to include potential aggravating factors for criminal enhancements for potential sentencing purposes of a hate crime involving this event,” the department said.
What does the video show?
Video uploaded to social media showed what happened in the alleged assault.
O’Quinn can be seen driving a white car and attempting to make a right turn onto a street where protesters were demonstrating. O’Quinn inched forward and slowly made her turn while honking her horn. The protesters then began beating on O’Quinn’s vehicle, and she responded by speeding up. One of the protesters fell to the ground, then got up and walked away.
Protesters In Elizabeth City, NC…Hit With Car By Racist Confederate Support #Justice4AndrewBrown https://t.co/gZdNVzkcRq
— Kerwin Pittman (@Kerwin Pittman)1621909574.0
With protesters now routinely demonstrating on public roadways, some politicians have advocated providing drivers with immunity if they strike protesters blocking the road.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) recently signed into law an “anti-riot” bill that, among other things, provides drivers with civil immunity if they strike protesters blocking the road, so long as they claim they did so to protect their life. Oklahoma has enacted a similar law.