Demonstrators protesting racial injustice and police brutality had marched on Seattle’s Interstate Five for 19 days without incident before a driver bypassed Washington State Patrol barricades Saturday to careen into a group of marchers, killing one and seriously injuring another, reports the Seattle Times. The fatal hit-and-run drew national attention, with lawmakers expressing shock and horror over the death of Summer Taylor, 24. The driver also hit Diaz Love, 32, who remains in serious condition. The collision — which demonstrators say seemed intentional — isn’t the first time cars have sped into protests after the killing of George Floyd. “Everyone wants to use the excuse of us being on the freeway,” said a protest organizer in a video statement on Facebook. “This happens to us on a daily basis. Cars try to run through us on a daily basis, no matter where we are.”
Earlier on the same night of the fatal collision, an off-duty Seattle Police Department officer drove her personal vehicle through the demonstration. Organizers said they had seen the officer “circling the protest while yelling hate speech” in the days leading up to the incident. Drivers have acted violently against protesters at other demonstrations. Three weeks ago, a driver injured three protesters in Portland after speeding into a crowd of Black Lives Matter demonstrators. A driver ran his car into a crowd of demonstrators on Capitol Hill in early June, shooting a protester who reached into the vehicle. In Seattle this past weekend, the crowd was dancing when Dawit Kelete, 27, drove his white Jaguar the wrong way up a freeway exit ramp and swerved into the protesters at high speed, killing Taylor and injuring Love. Kelete was booked into King County Jail on a charge of felony vehicular assault.