Video footage shows a man driving his car slowly driving through an immigrant rights rally in Southern California, with one protester jumping on the hood of the vehicle as it lurched forward and stopped.
Police surrounded the car and arrested the driver, CBS reported.
Police Chief Jack Conklin of Brea, California, said no demonstrators sought medical attention, but the SEIU United Service Workers West union said that six people were evaluated at a hospital. The union helped organize the rally.
President David Huerta claimed the four union members and two staffers were “victims of what appears to be a deliberate and hateful crime,” CBS reported.
— UNITE HERE Local 11 (@UNITEHERE11) October 26, 2017
Police said that Huerta’s account isn’t accurate.
“I think he was trying to get through the crowd,” Lt. Adam Hawley told NBC LA.
“We don’t have any indication he was trying to harm somebody,” Hawley added.
Hawley said the motorist appeared to have been stuck in the middle of the protesters.
Daniel Wenzek, the driver, was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, Hawley said. Wenzek was later released pending investigation into the incident.
Andrew Cohen, a spokesman for Unite Here Local 11, captured the footage. It showed the car sounding its horn the entire time as it pushed through demonstrators as protesters pounded the hood. Another protester jumped on the car’s hood as police rushed and dispersed the crowd.
“We ran over, fearing the worst,” Cohen told CBS. “I think a lot of people have Charlottesville in our minds.”
The incident bore some resemblance to the more serious deliberate attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August when police allege James Alex Fields sped into a group of demonstrators. At the time, Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when she was hit by the vehicle. Fields is still waiting for his trial on a second-degree murder charge.