DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A pickup truck driver disputes assertions by protesters that there were children or people with mobility problems in the crowd when he drove through a rally that blocked a road in Durham Monday afternoon.
No one was hurt and police say they won’t cite the driver in the incident that took place around 6 p.m. Monday outside the Durham County Jail on S. Mangum Street near W. Pettigrew Street.
Dozens of protesters were outside the jail and were blocking the road, but said they did not have a permit to close the road.
Tuesday evening, Joshua Melocik, who said he was driving the Ram pickup caught on video by CBS North Carolina, said that he was with a passenger who recorded video of the incident.
“After 20 years in the military, I support people exercising their freedoms as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others,” Melocik said when he spoke to CBS North Carolina over the phone.
During the incident, the truck appeared to slowly approach the crowd before several protesters in orange vests tried to stop it and at least one hit the truck with a sign.
“I understand if they have a legal protest there would have been a police barrier or blockade blocking that street,” Melocik said.
Protesters were upset by the incident.
“There were kids there. There were people with different mobilities that weren’t able to run and pick up and move,” protester Christine Hawn said soon after the incident Monday. “And so, everyone, no one was injured, but it was really scary and it was scary to see that blatant disregard for human well-being.”
But, Melocik said there was no one who couldn’t move from his truck’s path.
“There was nobody who had an inability to leave the path of the vehicle at the speed I was traveling,” he said. “Their attempt to cry foul in saying there were children or people with immobility issues was a blatant lie.”