Police Investigating Today After Protester Struck by Vehicle in Hollywood

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Police today were investigating after a blue pickup struck a protester in Hollywood on the second night of protests related to the killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officers.

A demonstrator holding a sign was struck by the pickup just before 9 p.m. near Sunset Boulevard and Seward Street, knocked to the ground and later taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

The pickup left the scene but was stopped, temporarily detained by police, then released.

“Hollywood officers stopped that driver several blocks away, where he cooperated with officers and provided information. His vehicle had evidence of damage from the confrontation with protesters,'' police said Friday.  ”He was released pending the outcome of a hit-and-run investigation.''

Officers believe the driver was attempting to maneuver through the crowd but was surrounded by protesters. “The protesters began beating his vehicle with sticks and tried to open the door to his vehicle,'' police said. “As he attempted to drive away from the situation, he struck a protester who was in the street.''

About half an hour later, the driver of a white Prius tried to get around the protest that was moving down Sunset and eventually drove through the demonstration before being pinned in by a black pickup leading the protest, according to police. The Prius reversed and hit a green Ford Mustang.

The driver eventually got away and sped from the scene. Police were searching for that driver, and an update on the search was not available early Friday afternoon.

The Thursday evening protests began around 7:30 p.m., with at least 200 people sitting and standing in the grass outside the entrance to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. The mostly peaceful demonstration wound its way up to Sunset.

Motorists drove by the protest honking in support, and a series of speakers addressed the crowd.

The first night of protests began around 6 p.m. Wednesday near Union Station with a march along downtown streets before returning to Union Station around 11 p.m.

Video posted to social media showed a protester using an object to vandalize government property and someone in the crowd later pinned the vandal to the ground, stopping the attempted destruction.

NBC4 reporter Robert Kovacik posted video on Twitter showing vandalism to a sign for the Los Angeles Police Department's Ronald F. Deaton Civic Auditorium. A line was spray painted across a portion of the lettering and large black “X''s were painted over the word “police.'' Protesters left the area around midnight.

Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical worker, was fatally shot in her apartment early on March 13 by officers executing a no-knock search warrant, according to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detectives Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove were advised by superiors to knock and announce their presence in serving this specific search warrant, Cameron said.

The warrant used to search her Taylor's home, however, was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside. Subsequently, Louisville City Council members voted unanimously to pass “Breonna's Law,'' banning so-called “no-knock'' warrants.

Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was at the home during the after-midnight raid, says he believed an intruder had entered.

The officers' statements about their announcement were corroborated by an independent witness near Taylor's apartment, Cameron said. However, nearly a dozen other witnesses stated that they heard no such announcement, nor did they hear knocking.

Cameron said that when officers were unable to get anyone to answer or open the door to the apartment, the decision was made to breach the door. Mattingly, the only officer to enter the residence, says he saw a female standing beside a male at the end of a hall, and that he had a gun in a shooting stance, then saw the gun being fired and immediately felt heat in his upper thigh as a result of a gunshot wound, Cameron said.

Walker fired that single shot at a person he says he believed to be a home invader, while Mattingly fired six shots in return, striking Taylor five times.

Almost simultaneously, Cosgrove, also in the doorway area, fired off 16 rounds in a matter of seconds and Hankison fired 10 times, including from outside a sliding glass door and through a bedroom window, and some of those bullets traveled through apartment 4 and into apartment 3, occupied at the time by a man, a pregnant woman and a child, Cameron said.

Meanwhile, an ambulance had not been stationed outside during the raid, and Taylor bled out while inside her apartment.

Taylor's family later received a $12 million settlement payment from the city of Louisville.

A Jefferson County grand jury on Wednesday decided that no officers will face charges for Taylor's death.

Hankison was indicted, however, on three counts of wanton endangerment over the shots fired into one of the neighboring apartments, a Class D felony. He was fired by the LMPD on June 23.

The investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Walker, Cameron said.

“Breonna Taylor was sleeping when police raided her apartment and killed her. She deserves justice. Breonna -- and all Black Americans – deserve a system of policing that prioritizes justice and dignity over fear and bigotry, so a tragedy like this never happens again,'' Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, tweeted Thursday.

“I am completely mortified that our criminal justice system has failed Breonna Taylor, her family and friends, and frankly, it has failed our country,'' said Black Lives Matter founder and Executive Director Patrisse Cullors, who is based in Los Angeles.

“We are going to continue the work that we have started in the name of Breonna Taylor and countless Black lives cut short at the hands of police brutality, systemic racism, and white supremacy.''

Photo: Getty Images

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