Columbus police Wednesday afternoon released a statement regarding the attack on a 58-year-old man with cerebral Palsy: On the evening of May 31, Eldon Hawkins unwittingly drove his burgundy 2010 Buick LaCrosse sedan into the heart of a protest at Broad and High streets and unleashed a furious response.
Hawkins, 58, who has cerebral palsy, said he was left shaken by the experience, and damage to his car topped $8,000. He spoke about what happened during Monday’s Columbus City Council meeting.
Columbus police on Wednesday afternoon released a compilation of videos of the incident, which occurred around 7 p.m. Police are asking for help in identifying who might have been involved.
Columbus Police Looking For Persons Of Interest Involving Victim With CP Who Was Attacked During Riots – 5/31/20— Columbus Ohio Police (@ColumbusPolice) July 8, 2020
Anyone info contact Det. Nace at 614-645-2119 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-8477
Click for video: https://t.co/PR7BlXN6B0 pic.twitter.com/eAdXbmVqy9
As Hawkins remembers it, he was driving east on Broad Street to his Downtown apartment after visiting an Arby’s restaurant in Franklinton.
The video shows that he had passed High Street and was blocked. He backed his vehicle up at a low speed and struck a person on a bicycle with his back bumper.
That triggered a rapid angry response from protesters, who swarmed the car.
“They threw a bicycle on my windshield and started kicking my doors and windows. It scared the life out of me,” Hawkins said.
In the video, people can be seen jumping onto the Buick and kicking at and then opening the doors. The trunk popped open, and some people started tossing the contents.
Hawkins said there were “some nice people who came and pulled me out of the car” and took him to the curb.
The video shows that after the initial reaction, cooler heads among the crowd called for people to calm down. One young man using a bullhorn helped to quell the situation, telling people this was not what they wanted.
Hawkins said police towed his car to his house. He said it cost $8,129.29 to repair the damage.
“It’s one thing to protest, but when people start breaking windows and spray painting the F-word, that’s turning this beautiful city into a dive,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins said his father was a union man, and he remembers once marching with his father in a show of solidarity with the Fraternal Order of Police and the firefighters union during a protest at the Statehouse.
“We did not break one window, and we did not spray-paint foul language, because this is our city,” Hawkins said. “If troublemakers don’t like it, they can leave.”
Those who have information or other videos of the incidents are asked to contact Columbus police Detective Steven Nace at email@example.com or 614-645-2119. People also may pass along anonymous tips through Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-TIPS (8477).
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