CALIFORNIA — Cars were honking loudly as a group of protesters, worried about losing their temporary, protected immigration status, were beating drums and blocking the streets in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon.
Eventually, one motorist had had enough and slowly began moving forward through the crowd. But as soon as the vehicle started to proceed, the protesters sprang into action, placing their hands on its hood and beating the side of it with sticks.
That was when the car’s driver increased his speed, and one protester, Claudia Aguilera, 46, thrust herself onto the hood of the car. The Los Angeles Times reported that Aguilera remained on the hood for a total of seven seconds before sliding off as the car accelerated.
“My only thought is that I just want him to stop,” Aguilera said by phone. “I’m like, if I just jump on the car, he’s going to stop. He did stop, thank God, because if he didn’t stop, he would [have] run over a lot of people that [were] crossing the street. It was so quick.”
The car made it to the middle of an oncoming intersection when police appeared and forced it to stop. The driver, Daniel Wenzek, 56, was arrested on “suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.” The Brea Police Department said he was booked and released “pending further investigation.”
Reportedly, many of the protesters had arrived on buses Thursday morning and were protesting outside the office of GOP Rep. Ed Royce, lobbying for immigration reform.
Andrew Cohen of Unite Here, an organization that lobbies on behalf of immigrant workers, said the group of protesters was trying to deliver letters to Royce about what losing temporary, protected immigration status would mean to them. Royce was not at his office when the incident occurred.
“There were definitely a lot of drivers who were laying on their horns and getting pretty irate,” Cohen admitted.
David Huerta, president of the SEIU United Service Workers West labor union, claimed that “several” of his members went to the hospital, but Lt. Kelly Carpenter of the Brea Police Department said so far, no victims have come forward.
Watch a video of the incident below:
— Christine Mai-Duc (@cmaiduc) October 27, 2017
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