June 1, 2020: Aimee Lewis captured on video a situation in which a peaceful protest march turned violent in York, Pennsylvania. A white woman got out of her vehicle, and was immediately accosted by “protesters, at least one of whom jumped on the roof of her car and broke out the window. No police in sight.
In the ensuing days of protests in York, police presence was kept to a bare minimum. The incident on June 1st appears to have been the only one of violence thus far.
Watch at 4:30 into the video as protesters surrounded a white woman driver, a fight ensued, then jumped on her car. An investigation is ongoing. The woman was able to go to the police station to file a report, and was seen with a bloody nose. (York Dispatch)
In the video, Aimee advised people not to go into the “square” of their cities at this point. She also noted that police were not present…anywhere.
The street was not blocked off, so cars continued down the street with protesters all around.
Hundreds of people marched through the streets of downtown York Monday evening as protests continue following the death of George Floyd.
The march began at Penn Park, moved to the police station, then became a parade down George Street, which still had cars occupying the road. The roads were not blocked off, which meant that vehicles had to yield way for protestors.
The march took a violent turn when a fight broke out between a protester and a driver. The driver got out of their vehicle, while several people swarmed around the car in a scuffle. The commotion eventually resulted in someone jumping on the vehicle and shattering the rear window.
Police were nowhere to be found during the ensuing chaos, while protestors were angered that some drivers continued on despite people occupying the roads.
The Mayor is correct about one thing: there was only one incidence of violence during the protest, and they don’t know exactly what sparked it.
The Mayor’s statement read in part:
“Unlike today’s scheduled protest, the City was not informed ahead of time of the civil disobedience that would occur while pedestrians took over George St. and York’s Square around 7 pm. That is why the barricades were not deployed and there was little police presence. Police officers were involved in positive engagement with protesters all day, but were not near the one violent incident that occurred. At the time of the incident I was walking down W Market St, informing the drivers that a civil disobedience kneel-in was occurring at the Square, in dedication of the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that George Floyd suffered under the knee of a police officer during his public murder. All of the drivers were understanding that they would be inconvenienced for 10 minutes. During that protest the violent incident occurred a block away, outside of the main area of protests at the time.
Thank you to York County Detective, and former York City Police Chief, Wes Kahley for grabbing the barricades we had stationed at George and Phillie and deploying them as soon as he realized they were needed. I don’t know who started the rumors that the driver of the car that was damaged on N George St during the protest was arrested. This is absolutely false.
There are many sides to this story. York City Police are collecting all video footage and investigating. It is clear so far from footage that nobody was dragged out of the car. The driver opened the door voluntarily and engaged with protesters. I have not yet heard any audio, so what was said between the passengers of the car and protesters is unclear. One thing is very clear. The DRIVER of the vehicle WAS NOT ARRESTED.” York Mayor Mike Helfrich
Police were not informed of the ‘civil disobedience’ – ok but are they EVER informed of such a thing? Yes, the driver may have opened the door herself. But she was immediately surrounded and a fight ensued – not exactly a simple “engagement with the protesters.” What she said would definitely be relevant, but without audio it is unclear. Then one of the protesters jumped on her car and seriously damaged it.
This photo is the police doing a “positive engagement with protesters.”
So, in fairness, it is understandable that police wish to engage with protesters on their own level in hopes of making inroads with opposing groups to quell protests and violence. Negotiations can sometimes bring good results. But kneeling doesn’t create “solidarity,” nor is it “negotiating.” It’s a sign of submission.
Featured photo: screenshot via Aimee Lewis TV