Washington police and Occupy DC protesters are offering conflicting accounts about an incident in which a motorist struck three protesters near a downtown demonstration.
Police said on Saturday that a driver would not be charged for striking the three people on Friday evening.
Washington Assistant Police Chief Lamar Greene said at a Saturday evening press conference that police concluded from talking to two witnesses that the collision was unavoidable, but the three people involved in the crash gave a different story.
Hundreds of protesters affiliated with Occupy DC shut down streets on Friday night near the city’s convention center in downtown, where a conservative group was gathering. The two adults and one teenager who were struck were taken to the hospital after the collision and later released.
Lieutenant Christopher Micciche of the Washington police said the driver was not cited because he had a green light when his vehicle struck the three at about 10pm.
“The protesters were apparently trying to block the roadway,” Micciche said. “It was essentially an accident where three individuals were injured, but they were in violation by being in the roadway.”
Micciche said witnesses told police that the three pedestrians “either ran toward or jumped in front of the moving vehicle.”
He said one pedestrian jumped on the hood of the car.
However, the demonstrators said that was not true.
Heidi Sippel said that she, her 13-year-old son and her wife Brandy Sippel were taking part in the demonstration when a silver Lexus sped toward them. The driver slowed down, threw up his hands in apparent frustration and then drove forward, hitting them, she said.
Brandy Sippel, who is six months pregnant, was grazed by the car’s rearview mirror. Heidi Sippel said she and her son were both hit by the front of the car.
“He just threw his hands up and hit the gas,” Heidi Sippel said of the driver.