North Carolina police said on Tuesday a white motorist who struck two Black demonstrators who were protesting in the streets against the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown by police could face hate crime charges for the incident.
Authorities said the suspect, 41-year-old Lisa Michelle O’Quinn drove her vehicle and struck two 42-year-old women who were peacefully protesting in the streets on Monday evening, Elizabeth City police said.
The incident was caught on video by a cellphone and was shown on a local news channel. The recording showed a motorist driving a white car driving through the victims while they were walking on a residential street with other protesters. The demonstrators were calling out for justice for 42-year-old Brown who lost his life on April 21 in a fatal police encounter.
Bystanders immediately transported the two women to a nearby hospital to be treated. Police said the victims have since been released.
The whole nation turned its focus after police fatally shot Brown in the riverfront community of 18,000 residents. The incident occurred only a day after Derek Chauvin, the officer involved with the death of George Floyd, was convicted of murder.
Legal professionals charged O’Quinn with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill by the use of a motor vehicle, one count of careless and reckless conduct, and one count of unsafe movement.
The incident is being considered as a potential hate crime by police because of the presence of aggravating factors. They said these could lengthen O’Quinn’s sentence if she is convicted of the crime.
Authorities are holding the suspect in jail on a $40,000 bond while waiting for her first court appearance scheduled for Thursday, Reuter reported.
Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble said last week that the police killing of Brown was justified because he was a threat to officers at the time. He said the man drove his vehicle straight at police officers. Brown’s family’s lawyer said the victim’s death was an execution conducted by police.