BREA (CBSLA/AP) — A motorist drove his car through marchers at an immigrant rights rally in Southern California on Thursday, causing minor injuries for some demonstrators, authorities said.
Brea Police arrested the driver — 56-year-old Daniel Wenzek of Brea. He was taken into custody for assault with a deadly weapon.
He’s since been released as police investigate but they say at this point that they don’t believe he intended to hurt anyone and say he may have gotten caught in the middle of the protesters.
Some demonstrators at the march in the city of Brea reported minor injuries but none sought first aid, said Brea police Chief Jack Conklin.
The demonstrators held the march south of Los Angeles to urge Republican Rep. Ed Royce to support an existing temporary immigration program for citizens of several Central American countries, said Andrew Cohen, a spokesman for Unite Here Local 11, a union representing hotel, food service and airport workers. Cohen said about 200 people were marching.
A video released by Cohen showed the car push through a line of demonstrators marching in a crosswalk at an intersection.
A marcher pounded on the hood of the car as it pushed her back and another demonstrator jumped on top of the vehicle as it continued to move. Police officers quickly rushed in, stopped the car in the middle of the intersection and ordered the marchers away from it.
“We ran over, fearing the worst,” said Cohen. “I think a lot of people have Charlottesville in our minds.”
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