Protesters hit by car press for driver's arrest

November 11, 2011 5:43:59 PM PST
The two protesters struck by a car during the Occupy Oakland strike nine days ago now have lawyers. They want to know why police haven't arrested the driver of the car for attempted murder.

Attempted murder is a serious charge, but the protesters and their lawyers believe this was a serious crime. The lawyers, who held a news conference at Jack London Square Friday, said cell phone videos and witness accounts prove that the driver was angry, aggressive, and tried to pick a fight after he stopped his car.

"We want this person arrested for the attempted murder of myself and Margaret," said Lance laverdure who was hit by the car.

Margaret So is his friend who was also injured. She said in her videotaped interview that she is still waiting to talk to police.

"They usually contact the victims of a crime and I haven't been contacted by anybody, but I know that they got all my information," she said.

A cell phone video captured what happened that night. Marchers were walking down Broadway at 11th. A Mercedes Benz tried to cross the intersection. Laverdure jumped in front of the car, then began banging on the hood. The driver hit his gas, knocking down Laverdure and So.

BART police responded. An angry crowd wanted an arrest. Instead, the officers released the driver which further aggravated the crowd. They surrounded the car for a few tense moments. BART police say they took down the driver's name and information as well witness accounts, then passed their report on to Oakland police because they say, it happened in their jurisdiction.

However, the lawyers for the injured pedestrians say otherwise.

"BART police aided and abetted in his escape," attorney Pamela Price said.

They also questioned why Oakland police have been so slow in investigating the case. Police spokesperson Johnna Watson said Friday "the major crimes unit is investigating the case." She said they will be looking into a possible charge of assault with a deadly weapon and will forward results of the investigation to the district attorney next week. She said, "It's up to that office whether a complaint will be filed."

The lawyers say they still do not know the driver's name. They showed ABC7 an incident report in which the suspect's name is recorded as "unknown." They also pointed out that in the report, no witnesses are listed even though there were many people in the crowd. Watson says the report probably does not have any "supplemental attachments" which would contain all of the facts of the case.


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