James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Black Lives Matter protester who saved man from ‘stampede’ says he 'didn’t even think twice'
14 June 2020, 20:42
A Black Lives Matter demonstrator who was pictured carrying an injured white man to safety said he “didn’t even think twice about it".
Patrick Hutchinson, a personal trainer and grandfather, went viral as he was pictured saving the man after protesters clashed outside Waterloo Station yesterday evening. Now he is being hailed as a hero.
He formed a group with four of his friends, who are part of London-based close protection group Ark Security, to protect young Black Lives Matter protesters from getting caught up in the violence at the protests.
They took it upon themselves to be the "overseers" at the protest, to make sure those who needed help were taken safely to emergency service workers.
The group spotted a lone white man being dragged by young black protesters through a crowd and thrown on the steps near the Royal Festival Hall.
In an interview with ITV News, he said: “I didn’t even think twice about doing it... I didn’t see colour, I just saw a human being on the floor possibly coming to his end.”
Speaking to Channel 4 News, he added: “On arrival, you know, at this point the guy was already on the floor - it was pretty hectic.
“It's almost like a stampede - it was lots of people and there are people trying to protect him, unsuccessfully, and then the guys went in there.
“They sort of put a little cordon around him to stop him receiving any more physical harm.
“He was under physical harm, you know, he was on his lap and was under threat."
Mr Hutchinson said he was worried the man "wouldn't make it" if he didn't try to intervene.
He continued: “And whilst they did that, I sort of just thought ‘well, if he stays here he's not gonna make it. So I just went and scooped him up my shoulders and started marching towards the police with him while guys were surrounding me; protecting me and the guy I had on my shoulder.
“I could actually feel strikes and hits as I was carrying him, so these guys were probably taking some of that.”
Twenty-three police officers were injured as several hundred demonstrators, mostly white men, attended the protest organised by far-right groups which claimed they wanted to protect statues such as that of Winston Churchill from vandalism.
But the demonstration turned ugly after hundreds of self-proclaimed "statue defenders" took over areas near the Palace of Westminster and Trafalgar Square and hurled missiles, smoke grenades, glass bottles and flares at police officers.
Reflecting on what happened, Mr Hutchinson said: “If the other three police officers that were standing around when George Floyd was murdered, and had thought about intervening and stopping their colleague from doing what he was doing, George Floyd would be alive today still.”
“I was just the guy that was caught on camera with him on my shoulder, but all these guys were all party to it.
“Without them protecting me, I would have probably got stampeded as well, underneath it, you know, so it was like a team effort.”