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Driver plows through Seattle protesters leaving one in life-threatening condition

A 27-year-old man drove a white Jaguar onto a closed freeway in Seattle early Saturday and barreled through a panicked crowd of protesters, critically injuring two women, officials said.

Dawit Kelete of Seattle drove the car around vehicles that were blocking Interstate 5 and sped into the crowd at about 1:40am, according to a police report released by the Washington State Patrol. 

Video taken at the scene by protesters showed people shouting 'Car! Car!' before fleeing the roadway.

Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle and Diaz Love, 32, of Bellingham were in critical condition with multiple injuries, according to Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg.

The image above shows the moments before a white Jaguar speeding down the I-5 freeway in Seattle that was shut down due to protests collides with two demonstrators before dawn on Saturday

Authorities in Washington State said they do not believe alcohol played a factor. Investigators are also looking into a possible motive

The collision sent the two women flying into the air, leaving one of them with life-threatening injuries and the other with serious injuries

The image above shows one of the victims lying on the highway just moments after being struck by the car

Love was filming the protest in a nearly two-hour-long Facebook livestream captioned 'Black Femme March takes I-5' when the video ended abruptly; with about 15 seconds left, shouts of 'Car!' can be heard as the camera starts to shake before screeching tires and the sound of impact are heard. 

The driver, who was alone in the Jaguar, fled the scene after hitting the protesters, Trooper Chase Van Cleave told The Associated Press. 

Diaz Love (above), 32, of Bellingham, Washington, is in critical condition along with Summer Taylor, 24, (not pictured) after being struck by a white Jaguar that drove through a group of protesters early Saturday morning

Summer Taylor (pictured) suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of the collision early Saturday morning in Seattle

One of the protesters got in a car and chased the driver for about a mile. He was able to stop him by pulling his car in front of the Jaguar, Van Cleave said.

Troopers arrived and the driver was put in custody, Washington State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead said.

Kelete was booked into the King County Correctional Facility at 7:24am on Saturday on two counts of vehicular assault. 

Bail was denied. It was not immediately clear if Kelete had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Officials were trying to determine the motive as well as where he got onto the interstate, which had been closed by the state patrol for more than an hour before the women were hit. 

Mead said they suspect Kelete drove the wrong way on a ramp. Trooper Rick Johnson said the driver went through a barrier that closed the freeway before striking the women. 

Emergency workers tend to an injured person on the ground after a driver sped through a protest-related closure on the Interstate 5 freeway in Seattle

The two women are loaded into ambulances by first responders after they were hit by a speeding car on Interstate 5 in Seattle on Saturday

Police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances rushed to the scene in the aftermath of the collision on Interstate 5 in Seattle on Saturday

Articles of clothing and other items are seen strewn on Interstate 5 in Seattle after the collision early on Saturday morning

Troopers did not know whether it was a targeted attack, but impairment was not considered a factor, Mead said.

Mead said the unnamed man faces multiple felony charges and was suspected to have come entered the interstate the wrong way on a ramp. The road was closed due to the protests. 

Video on social media shows a white car traveling fast and navigating around two vehicles positioned across the lanes as a barrier. 

The car careens toward a small crowd of protesters on the freeway, striking two people who fly into the air.  

But the driver, who had his hazard blinkers on, drives away. 

Mead said troopers did not know whether it was a targeted attack.

A different video - nearly two-hours-long Facebook livestream captioned 'Black Femme March takes I-5' ended abruptly.

About 15 seconds before the end, shouts of 'Car!' can be heard as the camera starts to shake and screeching tires and the sound of impact are heard. 

A crowdfunding effort on GoFundMe was started for Taylor. 

Seattle has been the site of prolonged unrest following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests. 

Dozens of people were arrested this past week in connection with protests as demonstrations continue after authorities cleared the 'Capitol Hill Occupied Protest' (CHOP) zone Wednesday morning.

Mead said at the press conference that protesters had shut down the interstate for 19 days in a row. 

He emphasized that the freeway is 'simply not a safe place' for pedestrians, and said he hoped protesters would cease what he termed 'unlawful behavior' in blocking the interstate.

Washington State Patrol released two images (one of them seen above) of the white Jaguar. The image shows damage to the front of the vehicle

Investigators are looking into whether the driver drove around signs explicitly forbidding entry onto the freeway, part of which was closed off due to protests

A demonstrator is seen left approaching the car after the collision further down the road on the freeway

The driver then avoids the protester and continues down the road before he is arrested. Police have not released his identity

'My hope is, as a result of this tragedy, protesters will reconsider their desire to be on the interstate because I cannot guarantee their safety, plain and simple,' Mead said.

Protesters were on the freeway for more than an hour before the car drove around the blockade around 1.36am, Mead said.

The state patrol tweeted out two pictures of the driver's car, a white Jaguar with significant damage to its bumper and windshield.

Seattle police tweeted that they were assisting the State Patrol with the scene, as southbound lanes of the freeway remained closed for investigation. 

Black Lives Matter protests continued throughout the country on Friday. 

Several hundred protesters made a peaceful return trip Friday to the St. Louis mansion owned by a white couple whose armed defense of their home during an earlier demonstration earned them both scorn and support.

Protesters marched along the busy public boulevard called Kingshighway, which intersects with Portland Place, a private street that is the site of the Renaissance palazzo-style home of Mark McCloskey, 61, and his 63-year-old wife, Patricia.

Chanting protesters on Friday stopped at the gate just outside the McCloskeys' home for about 15 minutes. 

The gate closes the private street to non-residents and extra metal barriers blocked the entrance to Portland Place, where the protesters had walked earlier in the week on their way to the mayor´s home nearby.

Inside the gate, more than a dozen men in plain clothes walked the grounds and peered out from a second-floor balcony of the couple's home. 

The image above shows the aftermath of the collision on Interstate 5 in Seattle as Washington State Troopers investigate

Several police cars were at the scene and troopers began gathering evidence after the collision early on Saturday morning

The image above shows someone's personal items strewn on Interstate 5 in Seattle early on Saturday morning

Washington State Patrol officers investigate the scene after the collision in Seattle early on Saturday morning

A Washington State Trooper walks past crime tape towards the scene where two people were struck by a car on Interstate 5 in Seattle early on Saturday morning

An investigator with law enforcement examines personal items left at the scene where two people were struck by a car on Interstate 5 in Seattle early on Saturday morning

Two Washington State Troopers are seen examining evidence on Interstate 5 after two people were struck by a speeding car early on Saturday morning

One protester briefly straddled an iron gate as if he was going to jump over, but did not. No one threw anything and no one behind the gates showed aggression. 

One man on the McCloskeys' balcony clapped along with the chanting protesters.

The racially diverse crowd on Friday carried signs reading 'Black Lives Matter,' 'Defund the Police' and 'No Justice, No Peace,' and chanted slogans including, 'when Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back,' and 'this is what democracy looks like.'

It was not immediately known if the McCloskeys were home.

The marchers then left and walked along the busy boulevard lined with condominiums, upscale apartments and hospitals to Interstate 64. 

Police had closed that road to traffic in both directions and were allowing the protesters to march onto the highway, where they sat for several minutes in honor of George Floyd, who was handcuffed and died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd´s neck for nearly eight minutes.

The latest rally organized by the group Expect Us is among several protests in St. Louis in the weeks since George Floyd´s death in Minneapolis reopened longstanding concerns about police treatment of Black people in the region.

The McCloskeys are personal injury attorneys who suddenly became famous last Sunday. 

As an estimated 500 demonstrators marched near their home, the couple heard a loud commotion and saw a large group of people break an iron gate marked with 'No Trespassing' and 'Private Street' signs, according to a police report.

Video posted online and viewed by millions showed Mark McCloskey wielding a long-barreled gun and Patricia McCloskey waving a small handgun. No shots were fired. 

That same video showed the protesters walking through the gate and it was unclear when it was damaged.

As days went by, photos of the incident evolved into memes on both sides of the gun debate - some supporting the McCloskeys as examples of people protecting their own property, some making fun of them for pulling guns during what many perceived as an otherwise peaceful protest.

On Friday, Black Lives Matter protesters returned to the same street where two armed homeowners - Mark and Patricia McCloskey - stood in front of their house as demonstrators marched to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson's residence in the Central West End of St. Louis on June 28

Protesters raise their arms as they block an intersection while bringing attention to racial injustice in St. Louis on Friday

Protesters march beyond a gate on a private street to bring attention to racial injustice on Friday in St. Louis

Henry Webber (right) and Christine Jacobs wave from their front steps as protesters pass their home on a private street on Friday. The couple lives not far from Mark and Patricia McCloskey who were seen on the front lawn of their mansion with weapons drawn on June 28 while confronting passing protesters. Webber said he wanted to send a different message to the protesters

Protesters sit on Interstate 64 in St. Louis for several moments on Friday in memory of George Floyd. The protest, the latest organized by the group Expect Us, was among several protests in the weeks since Floyd's death in Minneapolis reopened long-standing concerns about police treatment of black people in the United States

Protesters march in the street to bring attention to racial injustice on Friday in St. Louis

An armed man stands in the rear of the home belonging to Mark and Patricia McCloskey as protesters march past without incident on Friday

A couple holds hands as they take part in a protest bringing attention to racial injustice in St. Louis on Friday

A protester bangs a drum while marching in the street to bring attention to racial injustice on Friday in St. Louis

Protesters walk through the gate of a private street not far from the home of Mark and Patricia McCloskey on Friday in St. Louis

Protesters block an interstate as they march to bring attention to racial injustice on Friday in St. Louis

The attorney for the couple, Albert Watkins, said they are longtime civil rights advocates and support the message of the Black Lives Matter movement. He said they grabbed their guns when two or three protesters - who were white - violently threatened the couple, and their property and that of their neighbors.

Protest organizer Darryl Gray said on Friday, 'Are we angry? Damn right we're angry. But we're nonviolent.'

Demonstrators on Sunday were simply passing by the McCloskeys home on the way to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson, a Democrat. 

She drew their ire on June 26 when she read aloud the names and addresses of several residents who wrote letters calling for defunding the police force. 

The group chanted, 'Resign, Lyda! Take the cops with you!' Krewson's home is a few blocks from the McCloskeys' home.

A letter released Wednesday by more than three dozen neighbors of the couple condemned 'the behavior of anyone who uses threats of violence, especially through the brandishing of firearms, to disrupt peaceful protest, whether it be in this neighborhood or anywhere in the United States.' 

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Black Lives Matter protesters blocked a roadway, causing a traffic jam.

A protester insults a New York Police officer near the area known as the 'City Hall Autonomous Zone' near City Hall in Lower Manhattan on Friday

A protester is detained after pepper spraying another protester and police near the area on Friday

The 'City Hall Autonomous Zone' has been established to protest the New York Police Department and in support of Black Lives Matter near City Hall

Protesters camp out in the area near City Hall in Lower Manhattan on Friday. 'You murdered Breonna Taylor' is scrawled on a sidewalk. Taylor was a 26-year-old black EMT who was fatally shot in her home this past March by Louisville police who were executing a no-knock warrant because they mistakenly suspected that her home was being used to deal drugs

Protesters are seen above in the 'City Hall Autonomous Zone' in Lower Manhattan on Friday

Black Lives Matter protesters have demanded that Mayor Bill de Blasio significantly cut funding from the New York Police Department

A protester is detained after pepper spraying another protester and police near City Hall on Friday

A protester blocks the view while another protester was detained by the NYPD near City Hall on Friday

A protester renders aid to another demonstrator who was hit with pepper spray near City Hall in Lower Manhattan on Friday

Protesters insult and scream to NYPD officers after one of them was detained near the area know as the 'City Hall Autonomous Zone' on Friday

A protesters insults and screams to NYPD officers after one of them was detained in Lower Manhattan on Friday

A small group marched along an area near Interstate 40 and Louisiana as shops and restaurants along the way went into lockdown, according to KOB4 TV.

Police monitored the protests. No incidents were reported.

In New York City, protesters continue to camp out in what has been dubbed the 'City Hall Autonomous Zone' or 'Occupy City Hall' in Lower Manhattan.

At least two people were arrested by the NYPD near City Hall Park, according to Gothamist. 

One of those taken into custody was a protester with a blowhorn who was speaking to the crowd and reading out the record of an officer who has had various complaints against him.

'While we was exposing him - he [the protester] was right here on the gate exposing him - he ordered the officers to come around in riot gear when we was protesting and talking peacefully,' a witness who was at the protest said in an Instagram video.

An NYPD spokesperson told Gothamist that Daniel Mayo, 32, of Queens was taken into custody for making 'threatening statements.'

Another demonstrator, Ryan Minett, a 27-year-old resident of Long Island, was also arrested for obstruction of governmental administration, disorderly conduct, and other offenses, the NYPD said. 

Video uploaded to social media shows protesters reading information about officers who have been accused of misconduct.

The claims against the officers were read from a website that tracks civilian complaints. 

'Occupy City Hall' protest has seen demonstrators cover buildings with graffiti, barricade subways, leave piles of trash and throw clothes over railings.  

Protesters have been camped outside City Hall for more than a week now as calls for widespread police reform and for the NYPD to be defunded have escalated in the weeks following the Memorial Day 'murder' of black man George Floyd at the hands of white cop Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. 

Demonstrations calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism show no signs of abating in the Big Apple where Floyd's killing reignited outrage felt by New Yorkers following the death of black man Eric Garner in NYPD custody back in 2014. 

But at the zone outside City Hall, dubbed 'Abolition Park' by its occupiers, what started as a sit-in demanding change and police reform has now descended into a rundown, smelly area after they celebrated $1billion being cut from the NYPD's budget. 

In Aurora, Colorado, protesters surrounded a police precinct for hours on Friday evening as demonstrators vowed they would remain there until the city dismissed two officers involved in the death of Elijah McClain and who are still employed. 

The third officer involved in the death of the unarmed 23-year-old African American massage therapist last August was fired on Friday for responding to a text message that contained a photo mocking McClain's death with 'HaHa,' 9 News TV reported.

Protesters blocking an exit to the precinct of the officers who arrested Elijah McClain cover their ears anticipating the use of flash-bang grenades by police in Aurora, Colorado, on Friday

The protesters vowed to stay and block the exit of the precinct until all of the officers involved in McClain's death were fired

Protest organiser Joel Northam leads demonstrators in a call for the termination and prosecution of the officers

One of the protesters holds a sign bearing the names of the officers involved in McClain's death last August

Protesters surround the police precinct in Aurora, Colorado, on Friday while demanding that the officers involved in McClain's death be terminated

The protesters in Aurora, Colorado, hold signs and march while denouncing police on Friday

A protester wears a face mask that calls for the termination of the officers who arrested Elijah McClain

Three Aurora officers were fired on Friday over photos showing police reenact a chokehold used on McClain, who died last year after police stopped him on the street in the Denver suburb.

One of those fired is Jason Rosenblatt, a white Aurora officer who helped stop McClain in August for wearing a ski mask and 'being suspicious.' 

Police put McClain in a chokehold, paramedics injected him with a sedative and McClain suffered cardiac arrest before later being taken off life support.

Aurora Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson told reporters that officers sent the photos to Rosenblatt and others two months after McClain died to 'cheer up a friend,' without explaining who that was. 

Rosenblatt responded with a text saying, 'Haha.' 

Officer Nathan Woodyard, who put McClain in a chokehold, also got the photos but he was not disciplined because he didn’t respond.

'We are ashamed, we are sickened, and we are angry,' Wilson said. 

The officers may not have committed a crime, but the photographs are 'a crime against humanity and decency,' she added.

Three Aurora officers were fired on Friday over photos showing police reenact a chokehold used on McClain, who died last year after police stopped him on the street in the Denver suburb

The three also took a smiling selfie on October 20, 2019, after posing for the 're-enactment' of McClain's killing in Colorado

Jason Rosenblatt, who was involved in McClain's fatal arrest last August, was fired on Friday for receiving a photo re-enacting McClain's killing

Elijah McClain, 23, was killed by three white police officers in Colorado in August after someone called 911, saying he 'looked sketchy' and was wearing a ski mask and waving his arms

McClain’s death has become a rallying cry amid a national reckoning over police brutality and racial injustice, with the state reopening the case for possible criminal charges and federal officials looking into a civil rights investigation. 

In several places, the chokehold has been banned and other police reforms passed after nationwide protests. 

McClain’s family, friends and community activists noted during a rally that justice was swifter for the mocking photograph than the use of force that led to McClain’s death. 

The two other officers who stopped the young man are still on the force as authorities look again into possible criminal charges after clearing them last year.

'Rosenblatt got fired not for killing Elijah, not for murdering Elijah, but for making fun of Elijah,' said Terrence Roberts, a community organizer and family friend. 

'That is the culture that we're fighting, where a police officer can murder a black man, a black child, and keep his job and stay on the force so he can go make fun of this child.'

Officers Kyle Dittrich, Erica Marrero and Jaron Jones - none of whom confronted McClain in August - smiled and mockingly placed each other in a chokehold in the photos taken in October near a memorial for McClain.

An officer reported the photos to a sergeant late last month, and an internal investigation began.

Rosenblatt, Dittrich and Marrero were fired for conduct unbecoming of an officer. Jones resigned earlier this week.

The Aurora Police Association called the investigation 'a rush to judgment.' 

The union for officers said on Facebook that the investigation took nine days, while a standard internal affairs case takes months.

Several police agencies have taken swift action to punish officers, including those involved in George Floyd’s death May 25 in Minneapolis that ushered in global demonstrations. 

Sheneen McClain (right) is hugged by family attorney Mari Newman (left) at the memorial site across the street from where McClain's 23-year-old son, Elijah, was stopped by Aurora, Colorado, police officers while walking home as family members hold a news conference on Friday

Protesters gather at the site where Elijah McClain was arrested and march to the precinct where the officers who arrested him are stationed to demand their termination and prosecution

A protester lays flowers at a memorial for Elijah McClain at the site where he was arrested in Aurora, Colorado, on Friday

Protesters gather at the site where Elijah McClain was arrested and march to the precinct where the officers who arrested him are stationed to demand their termination and prosecution on Friday

Protesters unfurl a Black Lives Matter banner during a march to the police precinct in Aurora, Colorado, on Friday

A protester raises a sign which reads 'I'm just different' during a march from the site of McClain's arrest to the precinct where the officers involved in his death are stationed

For Elijah McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, 'it was just devastating to see that people were mocking the murder of her son,' family attorney Mari Newman said.

'The fact that three on-duty, in-uniform police officers thought that it was appropriate to reenact the murder, jokingly, shows that the department is rotten to the core,' she said.

Facing increasing pressure as celebrities and others on social media called for justice, Colorado Governor Jared Polis last week ordered the state attorney general to reopen McClain’s case.

The officers stopped McClain, a massage therapist, after a 911 call on August 24 reported him as suspicious because he was wearing a ski mask and flailing his arms. 

He begged them repeatedly to let go of him, according to body-camera video.

After the chokehold that cut off blood to his brain, paramedics administered 500 milligrams of a sedative to calm him down. 

A forensic pathologist could not determine what exactly led to McClain's death but said physical exertion during the confrontation likely contributed.

A prosecutor said he didn't pursue criminal charges against the officers because the pathologist wasn’t able to determine if their actions caused McClain’s death. 

District Attorney Dave Young recently called the young man’s death 'tragic and unnecessary' but defended his decision.

Police body-camera video shows an officer getting out of his car, approaching McClain and saying, 'Stop right there. Stop. Stop. ... I have a right to stop you because you’re being suspicious.'

In the video, the officer turns McClain around and repeats, 'Stop tensing up.' 

As McClain tries to escape the officer's grip, the officer says, 'Relax, or I’m going to have to change this situation.'

As other officers join to restrain McClain, he begs them to let go and says, 'You guys started to arrest me, and I was stopping my music to listen.'

Aurora police have said McClain refused to stop walking and fought back when officers tried to take him into custody.

In the video, McClain tells officers: 'Let go of me. I am an introvert. Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking.'

The United States Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI announced this week they are looking into whether to launch a civil rights investigation. 

Federal authorities said they also were considering an investigation into the photos. 

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