Witnesses told The Associated Press that a car drove through a group of protesters who were blocking a street during the demonstration Tuesday night to mark two years since the unarmed black 18-year-old’s fatal shooting by a white police officer. They said the car struck a young man so hard that he flew into the air.
“A lady came down and hit a protester — knocked the shoes off his feet,” said Sharon Cowan, who was at the scene. “Hit him, and he rolled and he bounced.”
Graphic video provided to AP by Heather De Mian, who was at the scene and frequently livestreams protests in the St. Louis area, appeared to corroborate the witnesses’ account, showing a man hit and thrown several feet as bystanders shriek. The man seemed badly injured and was put into a private car to be taken to a hospital, Cowan said. Shots can be heard on the video less than a minute after the collision. Some witnesses said protesters were firing at the vehicle, which a city spokesman later said was pockmarked with bullet holes .
Spokesman Jeff Small told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch police don’t believe the driver intentionally struck the protester.
“By all accounts, her version of what happened seems to fit the version of what happened to a person driving down a busy West Florissant Avenue and not seeing a person standing there,” Small said. Small said no one inside the vehicle was injured.