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The Driver Who Plowed Into BLM Protesters Was Doing Cop Car Cosplay

In Manhattan last night, a car plowed into and through protesters marching for Daniel Prude in Times Square. People quickly figured out that the car was filled with pro-Trump agitators. And that the NYPD had all but given them an escort. And that the car belongs to one of those cop-car wannabe guys. Everything about it, including the NYPD’s investigation, gets worse and worse.

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Prude, of course, is the Rochester man who died from the effects of suffocation seven days after police officers covered his head with a mesh hood and pinned him to the ground until he became unconscious.

Cars driving into BLM protesters is nothing new. Our coverage on right-wing car attacks runs pretty far back:

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If you have not seen the initial video (or are getting it mixed up with the last vehicle to crash into protesters in Times Square), here is the car driving right into protesters, out there in the rain:

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And here is the car with cops giving it the “go on ahead” as it filled up with pro-Trump counterprotesters:

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It should come as no surprise, then, that the cops have not made any arrests in the matter, as Gothamist reports:

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Friday morning that police were still investigating whether a crime was committed. The vehicle has not been located and no arrests have been made, the department confirmed. The spokesperson said the car was not used by the NYPD.

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Now, this seems strange, because a black Taurus with a bull bar reads as a cop car to anyone in the city. If it wasn’t a police vehicle, what was it? Well, Gothamist explains: It was cop car cosplay.

The vehicle’s license plate matches that of another car frequently shared on social media by Hakim Gibson, a pro-NYPD activist who currently runs a “law enforcement support page.” The Ford Taurus appears to be a former police car purchased from a police auction. According to Facebook posts, Gibson recently outfitted the car with a push bumper and spotlight, joking online that other drivers had often mistaken him for a police officer.

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The first thing to say is that of course the investigation from the NYPD is completely in support of the driver who slammed into the protesters, none of whom were seriously injured, as Gothamist reports. What’s grating is how NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea has described the whole thing, as the NY Daily News reports:

Police monitoring the BLM rally told the counter-protesters to cut through a hotel taxi queue on W. 46th St. and head west on W. 45th St. to avoid the crowd, but the Taurus driver kept driving up the street toward Broadway, authorities said.“As fate would have it (the protesters) move in that direction and go down 46 St.,” Shea explained. “You have a bicyclist block the car from moving. We have two people strike the car window, one with a punch, one banging on it and you have the car speed away right through the crowd.”Once the car got past the crowd, it sped off and “very dangerously as it hits a block or two after goes up and makes a right,” Shea said.“We’re really lucky it didn’t have a collision with other cars,” Shea said.

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Oh yeah, heaven forbid the car hit another car, as opposed to the actual human beings it did indeed drive right into.

Let me also say that this makes one other thing clear: Cop car cosplay just sucks, dude. It’s trash. I love an old Crown Vic as much as the next guy, but gleefully taking it in as other drivers slow down because they think you are about to pull them over is some petty, wannabe shit.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

triallawyer
A Trial Lawyer

I wonder what the average person would do if they found themselves in a car surrounded by angry protestors punching their windshield and threatening them. Get out and surrender to the crowd? Sit there and wait until they flip your car over? Try to move the car forward through the crowd slowly? Or slam the gas?

Putting aside what Average Joe would do, what is the best thing to do in the situation?

Genuine questions.