MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Several women who say they were hit by a truck during a protest Friday night made a call for action after police announced charges against the driver. They spoke at a press conference at the Shelby County administration building hosted by Commissioner Tami Sawyer Monday.
“Four years ago the same thing happened in Charlottesville, and the nation said they were changing and going to mourn, and here we are,” Sawyer said.
Organizers including Allyson Smith and Jordan Dodson told the crowd about their frustration with the incident, especially because suspect Anthony Marcuzzo was not arrested at the time it happened.
Three of the four people who were hit described what happened.
Erin Dempsey said she was marching toward the back of the group. She said the cops had been following them from behind but they got separated, thus allowing other cars to follow.
An SUV driven by suspect Anthony Marcuzzo, 18, pulled right up to them, Dempsey said.
“We were all standing there screaming, ‘Stop,’ holding our hands out to turn around. And he accelerated into us,” Dempsey said.
She regained her balance and jumped onto the SUV’s side mirror, she said. Then, Marcuzzo accelerated, and she said she was dragged 20 feet.
Dempsey went to the hospital for bruising, she said. Shiloh Grace said she sought medical treatment the next day.
“We’ve seen promise after promise broken and reform after reform rolled back. We’ve heard too many excuses and frankly we don’t trust you all anymore,” her 16-year-old daughter, Lydia, told press conference attendants.
Police let Marcuzzo go that night with a traffic ticket, but they say after seeing surveillance video, they turned the case over to the district attorney.
He now faces five misdemeanors including reckless endangerment. He was released from jail on his own recognizance.
“If the driver would’ve been a black man, he would’ve been pulled out of the car. If I was a black woman, I would’ve gotten even less justice than the small amount I did,” Dempsey said.
Police have not responded to WREG’s inquiries about the allegations of unequal treatment.
A person who answered the door at Marcuzzo’s Germantown home Monday did not want to comment.
Marcuzzo is one of two men facing charges of running into protesters in separate incidents during the same march Friday.
Beau Albauer, 26, faces charges of reckless endangerment and reckless driving in connection with the incident, according to a warrant. He was not listed Monday as being in jail custody.