PROTESTERS STARTED PEACEFULLY in downtown Lansing on Sunday, May 31. By several accounts, the protest, a demonstration against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, was well organized and calm for most of the day. The tone of the protest abruptly changed in late afternoon when a small car, reportedly driven by a woman (described as white), drove into three protesters on S. Washington Square, one block east of the Capitol. At the time of the incident, most of the protesters were located in this vicinity. The driver’s motivation or intentions for driving her car into the protesters is not known.
The person in the car could be heard over the noise, as people surrounded her vehicle, threatening to shoot protesters. It is not clear if she was armed or not. At this point, the larger portion of protesters broke away from the S. Washington Square location to march to the Capitol. A smaller segment remained, but they were quickly surrounded by onlookers with cell phones. Some of the onlookers appeared to be protesters, since a few did have signs.
The smaller segment proceeded to destroy her vehicle, even flipping it over to stand on top of it and then setting it on fire.
A witness from Owosso, Cayden Whiteherse, who was in attendance with his sister, Morgan Warner and brother-in-law, Blake Kelly, shared that his sister’s car had been parked in the area when the woman hit the protesters. The three had just returned from the Capitol to her car. Also according to Whiteherse, another accident had happened just prior. He shared that an older man in a vehicle had been hit by a second car “zooming by.” Whiteherse shared that his sister had called the police three times for help. After approximately 20 minutes, the police did show up to help the man and he did not appear harmed. Directly following the first car accident with the older man, Whiteherse explained, was when the unidentified woman drove her car into the protesters.
“We got here at like around 1 p.m. and everything has been really positive,” Whiteherse said. He admitted to being disappointed in the outcome.
Witnesses shared that the woman had been taken in for medical treatment. It is not known how or if she sustained any injury.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)