Lorry drives into protest for George Floyd on Minneapolis highway

1 June 2020, 15:53

Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Dramatic video from a Minneapolis rally for George Floyd shows the moment a lorry ploughed through the crowd and sent protesters fleeing.

The beginning of the video, captured by Justin Goeman, shows dozens of people gathered on the closed I-35W in Minneapolis on Sunday to protest the death of Mr Floyd at the hands of a white police officer.

It starts off quiet, with people wandering around peacefully, before a lorry horn can be heard growing distinctly louder and the crowd snaps toward the action ahead of them.

Screams can then be heard as protesters try to jump out of the way of the incoming vehicle.

Video shows protesters chasing the lorry after it drives into the crowd
Video shows protesters chasing the lorry after it drives into the crowd. Picture: Justin Goeman

As people begin to realise what has just happened, they start running toward the tanker, which remained motionless on the highway.

It is not yet clear whether the driver intended to drive through the protest, or whether it was an accident.

There were no injuries reported.

Mr Goeman can be heard begging people to "please stop" throughout the footage as they try to smash the driver's window by throwing bicycles and hitting it with various objects.

The lorry then makes several attempts to drive away, but fails to do so.

"We can not hurt him. It defeats our purpose!" Mr Goeman can be heard pleading with other protesters who continue trying to access the driver.

But within seconds, protesters manage to yank the door open and pull the driver out to the ground as a group surround him.

Throughout the clip, Goeman begs people stop hurting the driver.

Eventually, police officers are able to step in and disperse the crowd, escorting the driver away, who is being held by police on suspicion of assault.

Speaking later to local outlet Fox9, Mr Goeman said he had been told the driver may have been trying to deliver petrol to a local petrol station, and had been driving on the highway without realising it had been partially shut.

"It was the craziest situation I've ever been in in my life," he said, adding: "I thought they were going to kill him. The crowd was angry."

Kenan Advantage, the company that owns the vehicle, said in a statement on its website that the driver was an independent contractor working with them.

It added: "Our first and foremost concern is for the safety and security of the public, our employees and our customers.We will be cooperating fully with the investigating authorities in the days ahead.

"It would be inappropriate to comment at this time until we have additional facts as the investigation is in its early stages. We will comment further once we have more information."

George Floyd died last Monday after he was taken into police custody
George Floyd died last Monday after he was taken into police custody. Picture: Social Media

The protest on Sunday was one of many that have taken place across the US on several consecutive nights.

It comes in response to the death of George Floyd after he was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit note in Minneapolis last Monday in an in an incident that has revived strong debate about racial inequalities in the US justice system.

In footage of his final moments, an unarmed and handcuffed Mr Floyd - who is black - was seen face down on the pavement, while a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck.

Chauvin continued to kneel for more than eight minutes in the footage, despite Mr Floyd's pleas of not being able to breathe.

He has since been arrested and charged for third-degree murder, while the other three officers he was on duty with have been fired.