Witnesses describe hit-and-run that injured Black Lives Matter protester


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Following a hit-and-run accident that left a Black Lives Matter protester hospitalized, local Black Lives Matter groups banded together to protest at Founders Park on Sunday night.

Sunday night’s protesters marched from Founders Park to the Johnson City Police Department and later continued to march down State of Franklin Road near downtown Johnson City and ETSU campus.

JCPD officers heavily monitored the downtown area as the march persisted on State of Franklin Road.

The protest on Sunday ended after 10 p.m. that night, where the group eventually dispersed from Founders Park in downtown.

The Johnson City Police Department revealed that the protester’s condition from Saturday night’s hit-and-run incident is unknown at the time and that JCPD along with North Carolina law enforcement has identified a person and vehicle of interest.

News Channel 11’s Kristen Gallant spoke with eyewitnesses of Saturday night’s incident, including one of the protesters and a bystander separate from the protest.

Kemp Faneto with the New Panthers Initiative was protesting Saturday night when the incident occurred and said, “[The driver of the vehicle] revs their engine and gets really close to [injured advocate]. [The injured advocate] turns around and takes a picture. That’s his initial reaction is to just turn around and take a picture of who it is, and he keeps going and tries to continue to go. Then the car keeps on going toward him, and at that point, he lays his hand on the hood.”

Another eyewitness, Robbie Fritts, a bystander to the incident who was not involved with the protest, said, “There was a group of protesters that were coming across the road from us from Southern Craft and going down the alley to what would lead you to Holy Taco…When they start surround the SUV, they get up right on top of it, start pushing with their hands, beating on the vehicle and things like that…Last night, they were not being peaceful. At that point, something turned; they decided to go over there, and they started to provoke the vehicle.

Lt. Andy Hodges with the Johnson City Police Department did confirm an incident occurred on Sept. 12.

“We received a call at 7:20 last night at the intersection of Spring Street and State of Franklin Road on a pedestrian who had been struck by a vehicle,” Hodges said.

The Johnson City Police Department has not yet released the identity of the driver of the vehicle of interest, nor has JCPD released the name of the injured protester.

Johnson City Police Department said in a news release Sunday night that the department will release additional information on Monday, Sept. 14.


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