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Car accelerates through Black Lives Matter protesters in Times Square, who had gathered to honor Daniel Prude

Car drives through Times Square protesters
Car drives through Times Square protesters 00:16

Dramatic cellphone video captured a car accelerating into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in New York City's Times Square Thursday night. No one was seriously injured, and police are searching for the driver.

The demonstrators had gathered to protest the death of Daniel Prude, who died days after a controversial arrest by Rochester police officers. Prude died in March, but disturbing body camera footage of the incident was released by his family on Wednesday. The video showed officers placing a "spit hood" over Prude's head, then pressing his head into the ground while he lay on the street naked and handcuffed.

Protest erupted nationwide and a day after the video's release, seven officers involved in Prude's death were suspended.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Times Square Thursday night to call for justice in the case. However, the NYPD tells CBS New York that a standoff occurred between members of the Black Lives Matter march and those of a nearby pro-Trump rally. As the confrontation grew heated, police say an officer told one of the pro-Trump demonstrators to leave in his car, taking a specific route. Instead, that demonstrator allegedly drove directly through the Black Lives Matter march.

"A black car came through the crowd and hit the person in front of me and then me and then I believe the person behind me, and we all had bikes so they just came charging through. It was pretty terrifying," Brooklyn resident Lora Gettelfinger told CBS New York.

Many observers noted on social media that the vehicle – a black Ford Taurus sedan with New York plates and tinted windows – shares several of the features of an unmarked police cruiser, but the NYPD swiftly took to Twitter to refute that claim.

"This auto is NOT an NYPD vehicle," the department tweeted on Thursday night.

While the incident bears a chilling resemblance to the August 2017 car attack that killed protester Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, this time police said no one had reported any injuries.

"There are currently no complainants," the NYPD said in a second tweet Thursday night, threading it to the first. "NYPD asks if there is anyone injured, please come forward."

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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