The protest movement has another casualty, this time in Seattle.
A vehicle sped past a police barrier and into protesters on a freeway overnight in Seattle. One person has been killed and one hospitalized in serious condition.
24-year-old Summer Taylor died Saturday evening at Harborview Medical Center, according to reports.
Diaz Love, 32, remains in serious condition.
Washington State Patrol said Saturday that the driver of the white Jaguar sedan, a 27-year-old man, is in custody.
Officers have not offered a motive, though Capt. Ron Mead said officers believe the suspect was not impaired.
At a news conference early Saturday, Mead did not offer further details on how authorities believe the man bypassed a police closure to reach the victims.
But he warned that the incident offers a stark lesson for protesters.
“My hope is, as a result of this tragedy, protesters will reconsider their desire to be on the interstate,” he said, “because I cannot guarantee their safety, plain and simple.”
In the graphic videos on social media, the sedan speeds past a cluster of vehicles blocking its way, appearing to swerve back into the pair of victims.
They’re flung off the car’s hood before tumbling back down to the surface of Interstate 5.
The incident comes just days after Seattle authorities dismantled a blocks-long zone that had been set aside for protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
Since early June, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone had been home to demonstrations demanding changes to policing and funding cuts to the force.
The site was closed because it had become “lawless and brutal,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best explained.
In fact, shootings in the zone had resulted in two deaths. However, the closure has failed to halt protesters from gathering across the city.
Protesters have forced a closure on Interstate 5 every day for nearly three weeks.
There have been reports of at least 50 vehicle-ramming incidents since nationwide protests erupted in late May.
Many of which were suspected attacks by right-wing extremists targeting Black Lives Matter protesters.
“The message they’re trying to send is, ‘You need to get out of the street and stop these protests,’ ” Ari Weil, the terrorism researcher at the University of Chicago who compiled those statistics, told NPR last month.
“They’re trying to intimidate the most recent wave of BLM protesters to stop their movement.”