A white woman has been charged with striking two Black women protesters with her car during a march against last month’s police shooting of an unarmed Black man in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, authorities said Tuesday.
Lisa O’Quinn, 41, of Greenville, faces two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill by the use of a motor vehicle and related charges, the Elizabeth City Police Department said in a statement.
Investigators said they’re also looking into the possibility of deeming O’Quinn’s actions a hate crime.
The women who were struck, both 42, were treated at a hospital and released, police said. They were part of a small march on Monday evening that was against the April 21 shooting by sheriff’s deputies of Andrew Brown Jr., while he was in his car.
Such marches have been a nightly occurrence in the city, where protesters say that Brown was unjustly killed while sheriff’s deputies tried to serve drug-related warrants. A prosecutor cleared the deputies last week, saying that Brown used his vehicle as a weapon.
A video shows the marchers walking down U.S. Route 17, a four-lane business route of the highway that runs along restaurants and other businesses. A car at an intersection turned onto the main road where the protesters were.
The video shows the car moving toward people, who then bang on the vehicle’s hood as it continues to turn onto Route 17. At least one person can be seen on the ground after the car turns.
Linwood Gallop, who was in the march, said that some words had been exchanged between the people in the car and protesters before the incident occurred.
“I didn’t pay any attention to what was being said,” he said. “We’re going to get some people who shout at us and yell at us. That comes with protests.”
O’Quinn was sent to jail on $40,000 bond, police said. Her first court appearance is set for Thursday. It’s unclear if she has hired an attorney who can speak on her behalf.
Brown’s shooting has sent shock waves through this small, majority Black city in the state’s rural northeastern corner. It has also drawn national attention and become a flashpoint in the movement toward racial justice and police reform.