Large truck seen driving through crowd of protesters in Minneapolis

A large truck was seen driving into a crowd of protesters on a bridge in Minneapolis at full speed, sending people running for safety, during protests on Sunday.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety called it “very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators.”

The truck driver was injured and is under arrest, the department said. It doesn’t appear any protesters were hit by the truck, according to the department. The driver has been released from the hospital and is in custody, the governor said at a news conference.

The truck was swarmed and video from the scene showed someone on the hood as it moved.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called the incident “horrifying” and said the truck driver illegally entered the closed freeway. He was injured after being pulled from the vehicle, Walz said, and his motive was unknown.

Walz said officials don’t have any confirmed reports of injuries. Social media suggested some could have been transported privately, but the public safety commissioner said they are not aware of any injured protesters being at local hospitals.

Just before 6 p.m. a crowd of pedestrian protesters gathering on an Interstate 35 highway bridge, and witnesses said the driver began spraying some sort of substance out of the vehicle.

Minneapolis police spread out across the highway blocking all lanes of traffic with their vehicles and state police worked to clear the bridge of protesters.

A tanker truck drives into thousands of protesters marching on 35W north bound highway during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Minneapolis on May 31, 2020.Eric Miller / Reuters

Walz said that the incident could have been a tragedy with many people killed.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety Director John Harrington said there had been a crowd of around 5,000 to 6,000 protesters and they moved to the freeway.

The freeway was shut down to keep protesters safe, he said. The truck drove through at high speeds and was chased down by protesters and stopped. Harrington said at a news conference that he did not known how the driver was injured or whether he was attacked by some in the crowd.

From transportation camera footage, it appears the truck was on the freeway as it was being closed, Harrington said.

“But that does not in any way absolve the driver from driving through a crowd of people at speed,” Harrington said.

The incident is under investigation. The governor said he wants the truck driver charged to the fullest extent possible.

“I don’t know what his intent was,” Harrison said. “… But there’s just no way for me to see that as being anything other than one of the most dangerous things I have ever seen.”

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