A group of local immigration activists are pointing the finger at law enforcement for failing to protect them during a protest last month. Protestors said two women were hit by a car while crossing the street in Grand Rapids, and went to the hospital.
GRPD said protestors shouldn't have been standing in the roads, impeding traffic.
During a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 21 members of Movimiento Cosecha GR, an organization that fights for immigrant rights, showed cell phone video and video they obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from the Rapid bus line.It shows a car, turning right onto Ottawa from Michigan hitting some protestors.
"I was let down by the authorities because they were present there but there was no humanity on the authorities, they were not asking me or asking us as a group if anybody was injured or if they needed assistance so they could radio ambulance or something," protester Gema Lowe said.
The GRPD said they were not there when the incident happened.
"When asked if they were hurt, there was a mention of an elbow but beyond that, nobody came forth," GRPD Captain Geoff Collard said.
Protestors said two women were hit by the car and were taken to the hospital. One of them they said, has hired an attorney. Another man said his 9-year-old daughter was almost hit.
"Law enforcement officers, federal agents then started directing traffic and they didn't wait for demonstrators to leave the street completely," protester Segio Cira said.
"Once the authorities arrived, some DHS officers, and also Grand Rapids Police officers there, they saw the cars were coming through this line of people and their main concern - they didn't first ask if 'are you guys okay,' which I feel is what they should have begun with," DACA recipient and protester Danny Caracheo said.
Captain Collard said there is an internal administrative review of the incident. However, in an initial assessment, he said officers followed protocol and protestors were using the crosswalks appropriately.
"We would strongly recommend you getting a permit through the city so that we can insure the proper staffing and make sure everyone is safe it's not in any way prohibiting anyone's free speech, it's their safety," Collard said.
The protest was in support of DACA and immigration rights in front of the federal building in downtown Grand Rapids. While participants were blocking traffic, they said it doesn't give a driver the right to run them over.
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