Occupy Oakland Protesters Hit By Mercedes

Two Occupy Oakland protestors were hit by a Mercedes-Benz as they were blocking the street.

Two Occupy Oakland protestors were hit by a Mercedes-Benz as they were blocking the street, the San Francisco Chronicle reports:

A car struck two Occupy Oakland protesters tonight as they marched with a crowd along Broadway, and an angry mob surrounded the car as emergency workers tended to the injured.

The driver, who was not identified, sat in his silver Mercedes-Benz sedan after the 7:30 p.m. incident while hundreds of people screamed at him through his closed windows.


The incident happened when the driver was heading south on 11th and was blocked by streams of marchers walking along Broadway, witnesses said. He had a green light, but could not get through.

Hartwig said witnesses had differing accounts of what happened, with some saying the driver appeared to have gunned the Mercedes into the victims in frustration and others saying he had been provoked by activists pounding on his car.

If this happened in a movie, we’d be rolling our eyes at the over-the-top metaphor. Meanwhile, in stark contrast to other Occupy protests around the country, it’s really getting ugly in Oakland, with an overly aggressive police force and some hooliganism locked in a self-reinforcing cycle.

No discussion on this topic would be complete without Janis Joplin’s contribution:

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Franklin says:

    I once met a girl named Mercedes. I shit you not, she was selling cars at a Saturn dealership.

  2. jfoobar says:

    It really is not difficult at all to articulate self-defense/reasonably fleeing from imminent danger when your car is surrounded by angry people beating on it.

  3. Dustin says:

    @jfoobar: It certainly is, when you have reason to fear the crowd because you just hit two of it’s members.

  4. If this happened in a movie, we’d be rolling our eyes at the over-the-top metaphor.

    Driver from group A passes through neighborhood of group B and gets in accident, which results in a riot or near riot is a pretty common news story.

  5. matt b says:

    Even if the car is being rocked, making the self defense argument when you are inside the car is a bit of a stretch – unless glass was being broken or weapons were being used against the car.

    IANAL, but know a bit about self defense and the legal system…

    The car itself (it’s frame) offers a significant amount of protection for the occupant. If he had been out of the car and was being jostled and say opened fire… that would have been an easier case for a defense attorney to work with (as the lack of outer protection could have served as an argument for deadly force).

    Having your car shaken doesn’t immediately scan as enough evidence of a treat of damage to body to justify running over people (even at a snails crawl). Likewise, you can’t argue that you were following your duty to retreat when you are rolling over people.

  6. jpe says:

    That was a pretty hard hit. I hope the Mercedes is alright.

  7. Surreal says:

    If anyone has watched the video, it is very clear that the driver is being harassed by the protester. It a provoked reaction, and one I’m going to guess that was caused by a healthy dose of fear on the part of the driver, whom was surrounded by an angry mob of people who wave signs around that say “Eat the rich” and “Down with capitalism”.

    Wouldn’t you be frightened if someone was pounding on your car? And you have no idea what this person has been through, or if they were simply a driver for that car, or if he owned it.

    Several years ago, I was robbed at knife point by someone who first threw themselves at my car and then pulled a knife. The situation was terrifying. If anyone started beating on my car now, or even stepped in front of me with the intention of preventing me from moving forward, I can’t say that I wouldn’t panic and run someone over too.

    Anyway, the main point is: The protester should NEVER have touched the car. He shouldn’t have hit it, and he shouldn’t have been engaging the driver in any manner. Protesting does not equal the right to harm someone’s personal property.

  8. matt b says:

    For those interested, the video is available here:

    I hold by the same comments… yes there was one person banging on the hood, but generally speaking the crowd doesn’t gather until after that individual has been run over. While I’m sure there was a big scare factor for the driver, they better get a GOOD laywer as its going to be difficult to justify their “self defense” actions.

  9. mxplic says:


    You were seriously dumb enough to get robbed by a knife while you were locked in your car?

    No, really…..really?

  10. Joe says:

    Just watched the video and I am disgusted. A crowd of people were crossing the street and the driver tried to go anyway. This protester nearly got hit so of course he was upset. He didn’t have to pound on the hood and be a jerk about it, he should have just walked away. However, that gives the driver NO right to attempt to kill this man. How in the holy hell does pounding a hood with your fists justify attempted vehicular homicide? Some of you are plain callous.

  11. Joe says:

    @jfoobar: It wasn’t “angry people” beating on the hood. You made it sound as if there were a mob of crazed people trying to roll his car. It was one guy who was angry that this jerk almost ran him over (and then proceeded to actually run him over).

  12. Joe says:

    @Surreal: No one in that crow was waving signs that said “eat the rich” or “down with capitalism”. Even if they did, how would a few signs incite fear into someone? I am terribly sorry that you had to endure such a traumatic event ( I mean that sincerely, I can’t imagine what that’s like). And you’re right, he should have never touched the guys car. But honestly, this guy was crossing the street. As a pedestrian, he had the right away. The guy in the car should have just let him pass (the driver almost hit several other people as well). The driver should be arrested.