Protester says driver intentionally plowed into him moments before shots were fired

ATLANTA — A protester said a man in a car purposefully tried to run him over Friday night before the confrontation ended in gunfire.

The incident happened shortly before 8 p.m. at the intersection of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Boulevard NE.

Videos taken by witnesses showed the driver of the car grab a weapon after becoming upset at the protesters, who blocked the intersection for more than eight minutes in honor of George Floyd. The driver then sped towards a protester, hitting him, before multiple shots rang out and sent protesters scattering for cover.

It’s unclear who fired the shots.

Atlanta police said the 31-year-old driver, who hasn’t been identified, told them he “felt threatened by protesters, some of whom were armed.” The driver told police he sped up after he heard gunshots.

But the protester he hit with his car tells a different story, and claims that the driver was actually the aggressor.

Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik talked to Justin Myers, who posted a video of the incident on his Facebook page showing the driver speed up towards him.

Myers said he wants police to take action against the driver.

“He purposely tried to run me over,” Myers said. “The protesters and the marchers weren’t the aggressors. They were trying to march.”

Myers said the video clearly shows the man drove into him before someone fired a gun.


“I really just hope the police review the videos and do what’s right and press the appropriate charges,” Myers said.

One protester, who police say had a handgun, was taken into custody on Friday night, but he was later released and cleared of firing any of the shots.

“The protester was cited for disorderly conduct and released on a citation but investigators do not believe he is responsible for the shooting,” the police statement said.

Myers said the whole situation is unfortunate.

“I don’t understand why, when it comes to Black Lives Matters and a Juneteenth March, why it had to get out of hand like that,” Myers said.

Investigators are working to determine who fired the shots and reviewing accounts given at the scene.