Chaos and Fear as Trumpists and a Domestic Terrorist Take Over Roadways

Supporters of President Trump blocked Fifth Avenue on Sunday.
Supporters of President Trump blocked Fifth Avenue on Sunday.

Muscle car drivers displaying Trump flags marauded through the city and its environs in a show of intimidation on Sunday that apparently had police backing — one day after a person driving an SUV assault car drove into a crowd of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters on Fifth Avenue, injuring several people.

The weekend of terror began on Saturday night, when a driver targeted peaceful cyclists towards the end of a StreetridersNYC event in Manhattan. Video shows the SUV plunged into the crowd of bikers (warning: graphic content):

The SUV driver races off, leaving the roadway littered with wounded cyclists, with other riders screaming for medical assistance. The Daily News, blaming the car, not the driver, said two people were taken to hospitals for treatment of “minor injuries.”

One of them, Alison Eng, later posted on social media that she had experienced a broken heel in the attack. She said she was grateful for the outpouring of support, and had never felt unsafe at prior Justice Rides by Streetriders NYC (though other riders have been attacked by domestic terrorists other such rides and while protesting for societal equity elsewhere in the city, Streetsblog has reported).

The black SUV just seconds before its driver targeted human beings on Fifth Avenue on Saturday night.
The black SUV just seconds before its driver targeted human beings on Fifth Avenue on Saturday night.

“My dad and I have been attending these justice rides for multiple weeks,” she posted. “There has never been a moment when we felt unsafe. These rides and other protests have been a large part of my life. Every week, I feel empowered as a part of this BLM community.” She ended her post by urging riders, “Please don’t let this die down.”

A police spokesman said an arrest has not yet been made, but the NYPD does have the plate number and is determining whether the driver and the car’s owner were the same person. (A check of the plate in the city’s database revealed only two previous parking tickets.)

Hours later, Long Island residents were shocked to see a motorcade of cars — most with Trump flags unfurled — on the Long Island Expressway. One witness said Nassau County police officers — in uniform — were cheering on the side of the road.

Streetsblog reached out to the witness, Joshua Sauberman, to confirm the attendance of uniformed cops. “Yes,” he told us. “They were standing outside their highway patrol cars, in uniform, filming and clapping and waving. Also, important to note that one officer was well into Queens. They had stationed themselves at the Cross Island ramp. The caravan continued on for miles.”

Indeed, the caravan continued to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, where members of the motorcade chose to express their support for law and order in a bizarre way, tying up traffic and honking in front of Trump Tower. The NYPD said no arrests were made. (Many of the drivers in the entourage had obscured their vehicles’ plates, but one of the cars in the front row, NY plate HXW4272, has four speeding tickets dating back to December, 2018.)

Many New Yorkers who have battled for street safety were not surprised that cops made no arrests of the drivers. Indeed, the NYPD’s main union, the Police Benevolent Association has endorsed President Trump for re-election, and its leader, Pat Lynch rallied openly with Trump supporters on Saturday in Staten Island.

Also, police tend to focus their attention on non-drivers who protest, as @belloflonglake pointed out on Twitter:

Streetsblog reached out to the Nassau County Police Department — whose rank and file cops have also endorsed Trump’s re-election — to see if the allegation is under investigation. We did not get an answer.

City Hall also did not offer an immediate comment. City Hall also did not comment about the killing of hero nurse, Clara Kang, who was fatally struck by a motorcyclist on deadly Third Avenue as she bicycled away from her night shift at NYU Langone–Brooklyn on Saturday morning.

Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris slammed the city for not doing enough to keep all New Yorkers, let alone heroic frontline workers, safe during the coronavirus pandemic — when city officials urged people to ride bikes:

Our city continues to fail New Yorkers who travel by bicycle, and the mayor does not seem to understand his role in this failure. Earlier this year, he slashed funding for the life-saving Vision Zero program, canceled the Green Wave plan which he released after a spate of cyclist deaths in the summer of 2019, and delayed the implementation of a law which would impound the vehicles of the city’s most reckless drivers. Moreover, he has all but ignored the recommendations of his own Surface Transportation Recovery Panel.

Our city was shut down for two months, but with nearly three months left in the year, we have already reached the average annual total of cyclist deaths during Mayor de Blasio’s administration. Just as each of these deaths is a tragedy, each is a policy failure. Every one of them could have been prevented.