UPDATE, 4:59 p.m.: Bakersfield Police released an additional statement on the investigation Thursday afternoon. It reads, in full:
Several community members have posted on social media regarding their beliefs and
statements that the pedestrian in this incident was struck intentionally. The
investigations is still open and officers are still seeking additional witnesses and video
evidence. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to
contact the Bakersfield Police Department. Investigators can be reached by calling
(661) 327-7111, or by emailing Officer C. Ott at email@example.com.
UPDATE: The Bakersfield Police Department said yesterday’s collision appears to be an accident and that the driver did not intend to hit the protester.
The department said witnesses saw the driver’s vehicle hit the pedestrian in the roadway outside of a crosswalk. There was no report of any kind of altercation between the driver and the protesters prior to the collision nor was there any report of the driver accelerating or making movements to indicate he was targeting the pedestrian, the department said.
BPD said the driver showed no signs of impairment and speed does not appear to be a factor in the collision. The individual has been released. The pedestrian is still in the hospital in critical condition, the department said.
Additional update: Bakersfield Police officials say they reviewed several social media posts related to the driver’s detention and comments that infer officers involved should have applied more physical force in the process. The policy of the BPD directs officers to use force only when necessary and to take all appropriate measures to deescalate confrontational situations.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Bakersfield police said they are investigating after a driver is suspected of hitting and critically injuring a protester Wednesday night in Central Bakersfield.
Police said the collision happened at around 10:23 p.m. in the 3100 block of California Avenue just east of Oak Street.
The protester was taken to a hospital with major injuries and was listed as critical.
One witness who spoke with 17’s Eytan Wallace during 17 News at 11 said the protester was marching on California Avenue with others at the time of the collision.
Police said a group of protesters were heading westbound on California Avenue in both directions of traffic. Police said a small portion of them were in eastbound lanes.
According to police, the vehicle was traveling eastbound on California Avenue and hit the protester. Officials said the suspected driver pulled over on a side street and waited for police to arrive.
The witness told Eytan Wallace the vehicle was going at around 40 to 50 mph before hitting the protester and others chased after the vehicle, and damaged it.
Police are currently investigating the incident and the driver was in custody.
The department also said, a vehicle drove through an intersection at Chester Avenue and 23rd Street at around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday and nearly stuck protesters who were kneeling in the intersection.
Anyone with information is asked to call Bakersfield police at 661-327-7111.