Tampa Bay drivers have run into protesters. Why haven’t they been arrested?


TAMPA — Jae Passmore called for a moment of silence. It was June 27, six days after a pickup truck driver swore at protesters demonstrating at a Hyde Park Village intersection, accelerated over a median and struck the community organizer.

Passmore was hospitalized. The driver has not been arrested.

On the 27th, she led demonstrators again in Hyde Park — in a wheelchair, her injured right ankle in a boot. She wore sunglasses to alleviate the constant headaches from her concussion.

She asked them to pause for a minute on S Albany Avenue, video from that day showed. For a few seconds, all was quiet. Then protesters’ cursing broke the silence.

Jae Passmore speaks at a protester press conference held across the street from the Tampa Police Department Headquarters on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 in Tampa. Passmore and others also gathered on the 27th to demand justice for Jason Stuart Flores who was charged with a felony and three misdemeanors after clinging to a car. [ JONAH HINEBAUGH | Times ]

A black Volkswagen was nosing through the demonstration.

The driver slowly moved up to a small group, stopped, then continued forward. The sedan ended up speeding off with the protester clinging to the hood, the video showed.

When officers caught up to the vehicle, the driver was allowed to leave — but the injured protester was arrested.

During a June 27 protest march in Tampa, a Volkswagen sedan nudged into the crowd and bumped Jason Stuart Flores, who wound up on the car’s hood as it sped away. After the car stopped, Flores was arrested. The driver of the car has not been arrested or publicly identified. [ Restorative Justice Coalition ]
Related: Pickup driver curses, slams into protest leader at Hyde Park Village demonstration

Under Florida law, drivers and pedestrians share the burden of staying out of each other’s way. But when pedestrians are protesters, Tampa Bay law enforcement has often faulted those on two feet.

The Tampa Police Department said both incidents remain under…



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