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Someone with no license plates drove through people on the Black Liberation Ride

Posted by on June 20th, 2020 at 3:36 pm

Still images from dashcam video. Driver is going west on NE Skidmore toward NE 14th.

Another group of peaceful bike riders was assaulted by the driver of a car. It happened yesterday during the Black Liberation Ride in northeast Portland.

Damage to René Morin’s bike. (Photo: slowestbikerever/Instagram)

According to witnesses, including someone who was driving by and shared a recording of the incident taken from their dashcam (watch below), it happened on Northeast Skidmore between 14th and 15th. Several riders were involved in the incident. One rider, Rene Morin, sustained minor injuries and his bike is heavily damaged. The community has already rallied around him with donations to get the bike fixed/replaces (his Venmo is @Rene-Morin if you’d like to help).

The suspect was driving a 2007, grey metallic Ford Escape Hybrid SUV. The vehicle had no license plates (something that I’ve noticed has become much more common on Portland streets these days). A Reddit user named SocialSchmedia who specializes in identifying cars (seriously) shared this key additional information which will help identify the vehicle:

Rear windows have a dark tint. And it has 2 crossbars on the roof rack. Car seems to be in really good condition for the year and the only damage I see is looks like it is missing a clip on the driver side front below the headlight.

The vehicle does not have a tow hitch and no running boards.

What leads me to believe it is a 2007 is the lower cladding on the front bumper, there is a different design in 2008.

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The key factor for this car is the wheels. This is a hybrid because in that year only the hybrid had that particular wheel pattern.

These hybrid models are rare-ish. You do see them, but a hybrid in that color with no highly visible damage will stand out.

You will see many cars that look like this, but if you memorize the wheel pattern you will not miss it.

Here’s how the owner of the dashcam, Reddit user albearrr, described the incident:

“There was a large group of cyclists riding around town for a protest. They had a few cyclists block off roads so cars wouldn’t be driving down the same route. I was detoured this way.

When I turned on a side street to try to bypass the cyclists’ route, I saw a group of cyclists riding down 15th and then the Ford Escape coming up north and running into some of them. Group of cyclists tried to stop the driver, but he kept going, running over some bikes, hitting other people, and then driving off.”

Here are links to albearr’s front dashcam and rear dashcam. The video below shows both videos cropped together. The collisions happened in the distance and you can see people chasing after the driver.

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This is just the latest in what has become a very disturbing trend of people driving cars into groups of vulnerable people assembling in the street to protest police brutality and support Black Lives Matter. On Thursday we shared a list of six episodes of vehicular violence since May 29th. We have heard of several others in addition to those and this most recent one.

If you see or hear about someone driving into people who are using the street in a mass demonstration or ride, please let us know.

And keep your eyes peeled for this vehicle grey Ford Escape.

If you are wondering, the ride itself was “beautiful” according to one person I heard from. We had a photographer there and will share her photos as soon as possible.

(Image sent to us by a reader)

UPDATE, 4:30: Ride organizers Mobilize the Movement said via Instagram today they are setting up a fund for René and for another person who was struck by another driver in a separate incident on the same ride.

A reader sent us video of this white minivan (license plate 330HDR) who she said attempted to run over people who were on the ride. The driver got out and talked to the person who took the video and said he “Didn’t have time to wait” and that “I don’t have any problem with you guys.”

Organizers are asking that you email them at mobilizethemovement@gmail.com if you have information about either of these vehicles or the drivers. “At this point we would like to avoid anymore police involvement,” they said. You can donate to the recovery fund here.

Driver who ran over bikes and riders. (Still image from video by via_la_van on Instagram)

UPDATE: Instagram user via_la_van caught up to the driver and captured him on video. As you can see if you click through to their IG post, the driver (a Black man) asks the video taker if they are racist and then dismisses the fact that he drove over people and their bikes.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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Middle of the Road Guy
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Middle of the Road Guy

It’s reasons like this why I think enforcement is all the more necessary.

This car (and jerk driving it) should not have been on the road. I’d love to see the day where we had smart driver’s licenses and cars with sensors that would only permit valid drivers on the road. No license affixed to the car? No valid license? No start.

Yes, I know there are ways around that (like someone else’s license), but it would be a beginning.

jered l bogli
Guest
jered l bogli

You lead with more enforcement, but your solutions – which are all technologically possible and quite easy actually remove the NEED for enforcement, by shifting the burden to other agencies – which is a great plan.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I have pitched the idea of not selling gas to drivers w/o license, insurance et cetera but no state lawmaker has ever been interested. If it could work anywhere it would be Oregon with the prohibition on pumping your own gas. Downside is you are shifting enforcement to the workers at the gas stations.

Paul H
Guest
Paul H

Well it does work with booze, cigs, and pot

Jason
Guest
Jason

A combination of speed cameras liberally scattered around the town and a points based drivers permit system would fix this. Instead of having a license to drive that entitles you to break the law and pay a fine, it would be more effective to have a permit with finite points that can be consumed, per year. If you consumer your points, you are driving without a permit and therefor the speed cameras would send you a fine for every lens you cross. Vs just a speeding ticket for when you speed in front of one. Inanimate objects can police better that the PPB.

drs
Guest
drs

I think speed and red light cameras are a great solution. But they only work if you enforce license plate requirements or have some other way to verify the identity of drivers that doesn’t currently exist. Given the current level of enforcement, the habitual law breakers will just ditch their license plates and face no consequences.

Champs
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Champs

Lots of cars are driving around without any registration.

Even before the pandemic, probably going back a year, I haven’t been able to get PPB or OSP interested in a license plate that’s been tampered with.

Eli
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Eli

Another example proving that cops aren’t actually interested in protecting people.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

Lots of people driving around without driver’s iicenses too. As I’ve mentioned here, that is not even a criminal offense in Oregon.

drs
Guest
drs

That is just unbelievable. I mean, it’s not like there’s any enforcement for vehicle related offenses, anyway. But to not even have a law on the books…

David Hampsten
Guest

My community in NC is dependent on vehicle registration and license fee revenue, so you can bet they go out of their way to enforce that law here, just not the speeding kind. How is license plate enforcement in Washington state?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

There is a law on the books, it’s just not a criminal law. Driving without a license is illegal, it’s just that it’s an ordinance violation, like a speeding ticket.

One thing we need to be aware of, and reform, is how people lose their licenses in the first place. For a lot of people it is because they are genuinely bad drivers and have had their licenses suspended or cancelled because of their history of moving violations. Those people should lose their licenses, and there should be teeth in the law if they get caught driving afterwards.

But a large number of people without licenses have just had the snowballing effect that often happens to individuals of color: they get pulled over for a pretext stop or nuisance violation like a broken taillight (which happens to them an awful lot more than it does to white people), they get a ticket and a fine they can’t pay, then get additional fines tacked on for failing to pay. Many of the poorest people in our country, with the least ability to pay, end up with thousands of unpaid fines and ultimately a suspended license. We need to make sure the people who lose their licenses are the ones who deserve to (and there certainly are many).

My understanding is that after the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri passed laws that limited (1) the total revenue that police departments can collect from these types of sources, and (2) capped the total amount of fines anyone would ever have to pay for low-level violations. Those would be baby steps towards making the situation more equitable.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

A lot of people also lose their license as a result of failing to pay child support. Hard to see where that fits into the narrative.

I think it’s reasonable to question whether suspending a license for unpaid tickets is the right answer or not (should there be a different consequence for not paying your fines, and if so what, or should there be no consequence for not paying?), but it seems to me that once your license has been suspended, for whatever reason, you should not be driving.

Should there generally be consequences for people who do things they should not be doing?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Yes, there should be consequences for people who do things they shouldn’t. But there should be a meaningful connection between the violation and the consequence.

Driving without a license should carry a more serious criminal consequence, but first we should make sure people are losing their licenses for good reason. Failing to pay child support should also carry serious consequences, but I fail to see how losing your license links back to that behavior or even provides an effective deterrent.

As for the linkage between tickets and license suspension, I would say that losing your license should 100% be linked to your driving behavior. If you have a long history of serious violations you should lose your license, regardless of whether you paid the bail (what we call fines) or not.

If you fail to pay fines, then what? Well, as I mentioned in Missouri they limited the total fines anyone should have to pay to a few hundred dollars. Not saying we should go fine-free like some libraries have done, but I will point out that kind of amnesty has actually helped them better serve their community. Maybe a means-tested mechanism for getting out of most accumulated fines, along with paying an amount that is a token to the city but not to the citizen involved, would be one approach.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I suspect the law about child support is there because revoking a license is a way to get the attention of someone who is refusing to pay what they owe, but without the obvious overkill of jail. What other alternatives are there?

As for limiting fines, well, it does make sense on one level — if I can’t collect $500, what makes me think I’d collect $1000? On the other hand, once someone has hit their threshold, how do you further deter them from accumulating more (now free) fines?

In both of these cases, I’d be all for a different consequence, so long as it results in the desired behavior at least as well as what we’re currently doing. License revocation is one of the few things that will deter (most) people that are orthogonal to both fines and jail.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I noticed a few years back, during one of my Facebook fugues (when I was using it), there is a lot of buying and selling of used license plates.

David Hampsten
Guest

Might they be victims of license plate theft, a form of identity theft?

drs
Guest
drs

License plate theft definitely happens. I had a plate stolen a couple years ago. But I doubt that is the case here. A growing number of vehicles in Portland are driving around without plates. It started long before Covid-19 shut down the DMVs, but it has definitely gotten much worse recently. People are realizing that they can dodge vehicle registration fees and emissions controls with impunity and they are taking advantage in larger and larger numbers.

David Hampsten
Guest

So I have a dumb question, as I don’t own a car (nor can I actually drive one): If someone is homeless and has no permanent fixed address, how do they register their cars, get license plates, etc, especially if they are living out of them?

drs
Guest
drs

The homeless population is eligible for welfare services, such as food stamps, unemployment, and social security disability payments that generally require a fixed address for delivery. I know that a lot of people living on the streets have mailing addresses at shelters or agencies that provide services to the community in order to receive those payments. I would assume that they could also use those mailing addresses to register vehicles.

There are probably a significant number of people that choose to not engage with those services at all, or who can’t due to mental health issues. I’m sure that living on the street or living out of a vehicle would present a significant barrier to vehicle registration for those who can’t or who won’t engage with social services.

John
Guest
Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

The assailant in this case was a black man.

David Hampsten
Guest

IMO, the stereotypical protester = blacks/brown/Latinx/pedestrians versus all car drivers = white males, is extremely false.

Nearly everyone I know who is black, Asian, Latinx (and white) who drives, believe they have a God-given (and constitutional) right to drive anywhere they damn please, at any time, and to park wherever they like, including over sidewalks.

Here in NC, protesters are driving long distances, usually alone, parking their cars where parking is free, then walking or using transit for the short distance to the protests. The protests for them are not so much a civic duty, but more like a recreational pursuit, an excuse to get out from social isolation and get some community exercise, like taking their bike by car to the popular park for their twice-per-year bike ride.

For many others, for working blacks, Latinx, Asians, and whites, the protest have become a damn inconvenient nuisance. It blocks traffic like those damn pedestrians and scooters at the light. (There are so few bicyclists in NC they don’t really enter into the equation here.)

So I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the car-rammers were proportionately represented by people of both genders and of all races.

The protest is no longer BLM, it’s now pedestrians versus cars. PLM.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Having volunteered many, many times for Sunday Parkways, I totally agree that no one race or gender has a monopoly on crappy behavior behind the wheel.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

And the guy automatically whipped out the race card. Sad.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

The protests for them are not so much a civic duty, but more like a recreational pursuit, an excuse to get out from social isolation and get some community exercise, like taking their bike by car to the popular park for their twice-per-year bike ride.

This.

Portland is the city that protests everything down to fluoridated water — an idea that’s literally a joke from anyone not from here.

Handfuls of people randomly blocking streets won’t build support for anything. Chances are better that such actions will distract attention from real issues and discredit those who try to advance them.

If some right wing nut jobs try to seize public streets and give me instruction, I’m not going to recognize their authority. As a matter of fact, I don’t do that for anyone. Quite a few people aren’t inclined to submit to the self declared authority of randos on the street.

That in no way justifies violence. But it’s disingenuous to intentionally be highly provocative and then act shocked when the tactic succeeds. Even if less than 0.1% of the population suffers from mental illness, the guarantees some of these people will respond inappropriately if unexpectedly confronted.

The protest is no longer BLM, it’s now pedestrians versus cars.

Performative activism that undermines BLM as well as any real progress on transportation.

I wonder how many people they check in with that aren’t activists to see the impacts of their actions? Cheesing off the people whose support is needed ain’t a great game plan.

OGBrian
Guest
OGBrian

“Portland is the city that protests everything down to fluoridated water — an idea that’s literally a joke from anyone not from here.”

There’s no cause to be a jerk towards people who understand the science about water fluoridation. If you have this attitude, probably you’re among the two-thirds to three-fourths of people whose bodies are excellent at handling pollutants. You probably aren’t concerned about pesticides in food, or pollution from everyday home products such as furniture (adhesives, flame retardants, etc.) or cleaning products (phthalates, petroleum-derived fragrances, etc.). Right? Not everyone is so fortunate, and fluoride products can’t be easily filtered out of tap water (distillation and reverse osmosis are the only practical options and systems are expensive). As far as health risks, the research keeps piling up about the health impacts from it. As far as effectiveness for prevention of cavities, when large areas of fluoridated vs. non-fluoridated areas are compared (rather than just cherry-pick a few specific water districts), there is no difference at all among residents for cavity rates. Zero. Sometimes higher cavity rates are in the non-fluoridated areas, sometimes they are in the fluoridated areas. It balances out to no difference at all.

Your statement isn’t even true. Most water districts worldwide do not fluoridate. There are entire countries which have rejected fluoridation, including the more enlightened European countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Northern, Sweden, Switzerland, lots more. Health officials of Israel ridicule water fluoridation. Japan has only about 2% of water fluoridated. Etc. Fluoridation has been struck down repeatedly in Portland because Portlanders, on average, are brighter and more well-read than people in most USA cities. That’s a reason I lived there for over 25 years, until the automobile smog was too intense and it was ruining my health.

RudiV
Guest
RudiV

Hmm… what events recently might cause someone to fear being stopped and falsely imprisoned by groups of self-righteous “peaceful protesters”?

drs
Guest
drs

Are you referring to a number of events that have been documented on people’s phones when people attempted to drive through protests and had their windows smashed or their tires slashed? Because most of those events were instigated by the drivers.

David Hampsten
Guest

Homeless? Illegal immigrants? Ex-cons? Confederate statues driving SUVs?

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

When it doesn’t fit the narrative it’s crickets.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

When someone drove a fully loaded semi tanker truck at well over the speed limit towards a group of protesters on a closed freeway here in Minneapolis (managing almost as if by magic to avoid killing or even injuring anyone), yes several people dragged him out of his truck and started beating him. By all accounts, it appeared to people there that he was targeting them. So that’s one narrative.

The other narrative is that several people jumped in and saved the guy – even though they fully believed at the time that he had been trying to intimidate and/or kill them – carrying him through the gasoline fumes to safety. They were determined not to answer violence with more violence. I would have expected the crowd to have beaten him to death, but he was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and released within an hour.

People on either “side” can pick a narrative from that one to feed their confirmation bias.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Shock horror! Trying to ram people on foot/bikes with your car provokes a violent response. Those protesters should lie down so it’s easier to drive over them, right?

oliver
Guest
oliver

This one: “Shannon Lowe’s family traveled to Forks on June 3 in a white converted school bus to camp in the North Olympic Peninsula where
People questioned them in a parking lot about their political beliefs before some followed them 5 miles to their campsite and felled trees to block their exit.

SD
Guest
SD

Another SUV that does not live up to its name.