Social media video from a reportedly peaceful protest in Walnut Creek, California yesterday shows an officer in an armoured vehicle threaten the life of a peaceful protester blocking the street over a megaphone.
“If you do not move, you will be dead.” The police officer’s threat can be clearly heard in this short clip from Tuesday’s Walnut Creek protests, originally posted to Instagram by @thiccegod and widely recirculated on Twitter:
According to a comment on the Instagram video post, @thiccegod claims the murder threat was followed by gas and rubber bullets. KRON4 reports two groups, one on Highway 680 and another at the intersection of N. Broadway and Civic Drive, were eventually broken up with tear gas after being warned to leave the area. It’s unclear how many people were arrested.
It’s also unclear what time the video was recorded. Yesterday’s 8 p.m. curfew was moved back from its original time of 6 p.m. The 8 p.m. curfew is again in effect for the Walnut Creek area tonight.
The vehicle in the video appears to be a Lenco BearCat, an armoured vehicle designed for military and specialised law enforcement, like S.W.A.T. It’s unclear how the officer on the megaphone intended to make the peaceful protesters be “dead” if he were to follow through with the threat.
If not by running the unarmed, peaceful protesters over with the 440 horsepower, 7,961 kg truck, the vehicle also features multiple gun ports and gas launchers. One BearCat has the capacity to hold up to 12 officers, including two operators. It costs between $US100,000 ($144,130) to over $US300,000 ($432,390), depending on how it’s equipped.
The threat comes after days of protests and police rioting across the U.S., where many police officers have alarmingly resorted to using their vehicles as weapons against unarmed groups of protesters, along with baton beatings, gas, pepper balls, and even medical helicopters to try and disperse crowds. Police have also been the victim of vehicle attacks in the last week (graphic content warning).
Gizmodo reached out to the Instagram user who posted the video and the City of Walnut Creek police for more information and will update if or when we know more.
Looking for ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.