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St. Louis Motorist Hits Protesters With Minivan Then Threatens Them With Handgun

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During a protest in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood Wednesday night, a minivan-driving man drove through a crowd of protesters, hitting four people. Protesters gathered in the upscale neighborhood, along with a number of other locations in the St. Louis area, to demonstrate in solidarity with New York City over the death of Eric Garner. It was announced earlier in the day that Garner’s killer, NYPD police officer Daniel Pantaleo, would not be indicted for using an illegal chokehold that caused Garner’s death. The city’s medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide due to the use of a chokehold.

Around 8 PM local time, 75 or so demonstrators gathered at an intersection in the Central West End

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to perform a ‘die-in.’ As members of the crowd began laying down in the street, an older white man in a Town and Country minivan accelerated through the crowd. As he drove through the intersection, four protesters were hit by his vehicle. Pictures from the scene show one activist, having grabbed onto the vehicle, being thrown to the ground as the minivan turned around a curve.

Once the motorist plowed through the crowd, demonstrators gathered around his vehicle, preventing it from moving any further. As protesters surrounded the minivan, the man pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and waved it at the crowd. Shortly after the gun-waving incident, police on the scene had the man leave the vehicle and then took him into custody. It does not appear that anyone was seriously injured by the man’s reckless behavior.

David Carson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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was at the protest and took photographs as the action ensued. Below are tweets of his from the incident.

 

 

Local news station KTVI also captured video from the protest and the incident. The following segment appeared on the station’s Thursday morning broadcast.

 

As stated before, the Central West End was the location of just one of several protests that occurred in the St. Louis area Wednesday after the announcement of the Eric Garner decision. While protests have continued in the area in relation to Michael Brown’s death and the non-indictment of Brown’s killer Darren Wilson, the Wednesday protests were organized to show solidarity with New York and bring further attention to a justice system that appears to be broken.

Actions were organized in downtown St. Louis at the Thomas F. Eagleton Federal Courthouse and in downtown Clayton. Five demonstrators were arrested at the courthouse protest. Clergy members led the demonstration in Clayton. No arrests were made as police blocked off streets and allowed protesters to perform ‘die-ins’ and march.

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