Right-wing extremists are weaponizing cars against protesters

Tribune Content Agency

Right-wing activists including the Ku Klux Klan are using cars to mow down civil rights protesters, according to a study that has found 50 cases in which automobiles have rammed demonstrators.

According to NPR, the University of Chicago’s Chicago Project on Security and Threats has determined automobiles have been used in at least 18 deliberate attacks against protesters following the May 25 killing of an unarmed Minneapolis black man in police custody.

Another 24 vehicular incidents involving pedestrians and the motivation behind them are still under investigation, the report said.

“The message they’re trying to send is: You need to get out of the street and stop these protests,” researcher Ari Weil, who authored the report, told NPR affiliate WHYY. “They’re trying to intimidate the most recent wave of BLM protesters, to stop their movement.”

The leader of the Virginia Ku Klux Klan is one of 20 people reportedly facing prosecution for weaponizing a motor vehicle against protesters involved in movements including Black Lives Matter.

The latest spate of attacks is thought to be an extension of the 2016 “Run Them Over” call to arms fueled by postings from protest opponents, including several police officers, who reportedly encouraged motorists to mow down marchers. In 2017, James Alex Fields Jr. did just that in Charlottesville, Va., killing civil rights protester Heather Heyer and injuring dozens at a counterdemonstration to a racist Unite the Right rally.

Of the 50 cases Weil documented between May 27 and June 17, 10% were committed by law enforcement, according to his analysis of police and court records. At least four of the overall incidents appeared to be accidental.


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