Police Seek Driver Who Plowed Through BLM Protest, Hitting Two Cyclists

Michael Fearon | Monday, October 5, 2020


Police are looking for a man who drove into a Black Lives Matter protest in Manhattan Saturday evening, hitting two bicyclists before fleeing the scene.

The cyclists, members of the protest group Street Riders NYC, were struck near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 25th Street as they pedaled to protest racism and police brutality. Neither the car nor the driver has been found, according to police.

Allison Eng is escorted to an ambulance after being struck by an SUV Saturday.
Photos by Michael Fearon

“There were no serious injuries, and we still have not identified the suspect,” a spokesperson said Sunday morning.

Cyclists first encountered the SUV parked on Fifth Avenue and 28th Street, according to a post on instagram. They warned the driver that more riders were coming, and asked the driver to wait until the protestors had passed. The suspect emerged from the black Infiniti SUV and confronted the cyclists, yelling racial slurs and insults. He then got into his car and sped south down Fifth Avenue into a crowd of cyclists.

Allison Eng, 19, was one of the riders hit by the SUV. She hurt her right heel, but was not seriously injured.

“These rides and other protests have been a large part of my life,” Eng wrote on Instagram Sunday.  “Thank you all for being part of this.  Don’t let it die down.”

Street Riders NYC was founded in June shortly after George’s Floyd’s death during an arrest in Minneapolis, sparking protests worldwide. Street Riders NYC has been active all summer, often staging protests with thousands of cyclists. Bike protests have become popular because protesters can quickly escape dangerous situations and block traffic for fellow activists as they weave through the city.

The hit-and-run capped a long day for the group. Cyclists began gathering in the early afternoon Saturday at different locations across the city to canvass neighborhoods and register voters.  Luis Maisonet, a clinical social worker, arrived at a meeting point on the Lower East Side and was enthusiastic to canvass the neighborhood he grew up in.

“It’s important that we start including everyone instead of having all this division and hatred,” Maisonet said.

Maisonet and several cyclists zig-zagged through the neighborhood on their bikes, registering voters. They carried a QR code printed on sheets of paper that linked to vote.org. They signed up a few New Yorkers, including a man who didn’t speak English.

“He did thank us and was grateful we helped him,” said Maisonet.  

At 3 p.m. the cyclists pedaled to Bryant Park where they joined fellow riders. About 200 protestors gathered in the center of the park.

Protesters gather on the steps of Bryant Park Saturday afternoon.

“Y’all ready for another justice ride?” Street Riders NYC founder Peter Kerre asked the crowd.  “Feel free to say hello to the person next to you, get to know them, we’ll all be riding together.” 

At 5:45 p.m. riders exited through the north side of Bryant Park and headed east along 42nd Street. They pedaled through midtown Manhattan, occasionally blocking traffic.  

Eng and another rider were struck by the SUV at roughly 7:15 p.m. near Madison Square Park.  Paramedics soon arrived, as did police, who reviewed cell-phone footage captured by protestors. Eng was escorted to an ambulance and taken to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation.

Less than an hour later, protesters gathered at Madison Square Park to discuss the events.  

“I know this has been traumatizing for many of you,” Kerre said. “If most of you feel like you want to call it a night, we can regroup another time. Do you want to ride, or do you want to call it a night?”

“Let’s ride,”  the crowd responded.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated her Allison Eng’s age. She is 19 years old.


This story is the work of a student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Other news organizations are welcome to publish this story as long as they adhere to these guidelines.