Multiple Protesters Hit By Vehicle During Manhattan BLM Demonstration

A vehicle has reportedly struck multiple pedestrians around a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest on 39th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan, New York City on Friday afternoon.

The driver, a woman, is in police custody after having struck six people. One of the people is in serious condition with the other five having minor injuries, according to SpotNews.tv.

Two law enforcement sources said that protesters surrounded the driver's car, tapping and pounding on it, which caused the panicked driver to speed away while plowing through protestors, according to WNBC-TV. However, a witness told the media outlet that the protest had been peaceful before the driver struck the pedestrians.

Warning Graphic: Footage Of The Vehicle Striking The Crowd Earlier In #NewYork #NYC pic.twitter.com/rlIeHPPuOB

— V̸̢̙̙͒̈̑̀͛̍͝engeance (@TheVengeance17) December 11, 2020

The driver reportedly stayed at the scene with victims, police told WINS-FM, though it's unclear the extent of victims' injuries or whether the driver will face any charges.

Officers have now asked drivers to avoid the area and, according to reports on Twitter, have told protesters and pedestrians to leave the area while they conduct an investigation or else risk an arrest. One protester has already been arrested for obstructing governmental administration, CBS reports.

pedestrians struck vehicle protest Manhattan hit-and-run
News reports have stated that multiple pedestrians were hit at 39th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan during a Friday protest. In this July 10, 2012, pedestrians cross the street near West 4th Street park in New York City. Rob Kim/FilmMagic

An eyewitness told NBC that the navy BMW with two white women in the front seats sped through the crowd, causing "bodies flying" as the other protesters attempted to escape the vehicle's path.

"I heard people screaming in the front," the witness said. "I look up, the car is speeding, people are trying to run. There were bodies and people fleeing to people sitting on the sidewalks who got hit."

The accident occurred in the Murray Hill neighborhood of east Manhattan, just south of the Chrysler Building and the United Nations Headquarters.

About 30 BLM protesters people were demonstrating in solidarity with six detainees on a hunger strike at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Bergen County, New Jersey, CBS reports. The detained hunger strikers have resisted food for 26 days and lost over 40 pounds, according to the non-profit Freedom for Immigrants.

Officials at the facility allegedly retaliated against the hunger strikers by denying them water, medical care, heat or sunlight, the nonprofit reported. The strikers claim that the facility is infested with rodents, poorly cleaned and puts detainees at risk for possible exposure to COVID-19.

Some lawmakers have proposed bills making it legal for motorists to hit protesters with their cars. This month, Missouri state Representative Adam Schnelting filed the The Fleeing Motorist Protection Act. A Missouri state Senator-elect pre-filed a similar bill this month.

"The Fleeing Motorist Protection Act ensures that motorists who are trapped in their vehicle during a riot are civilly and criminally protected under state law," Schnelting tweeted on Thursday. "If your grandparents are caught in a mob and are being threatened, they shouldn't be held liable for inadvertently hitting a rioter if they flee the scene in order to save those in the car from physical danger."

Schnelting also disagreed that his bill applied to "peaceful protests," tweeting "The Fleeing Motorist Protection Act protects motorists from rioters & mobs, not 'protestors'. Peaceful protesting is a very American idea, one that I will support until the day I die."

Newsweek contacted the New York Police Department for comment.