California protester dies days after being run down with car during rally

Kyle Feldman | New York Daily News | 2:35 pm EDT June 7, 2020

A black man who was hit by a car during a California protest Wednesday night died Saturday.

Robert Forbes, 55, was run down in Bakersfield while crossing the street around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to police and witness video that went viral on Twitter.

Forbes was taken to Kern Medical Center and was listed in critical condition until Saturday morning, when he died from his injuries.

Robert Forbes, 55, was run down in Bakersfield while crossing the street around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to police and witness video that went viral on Twitter.
Handout, TNS

Bakersfield police initially said there were no reports of “any kind of altercation between the driver and the protestors prior to the collision, nor was there any report of the driver accelerating or making movements to indicate he was targeting the pedestrian.”

But witnesses at the scene disagreed.

“When we got to Oak and California, everybody was marching. (Forbes) went to the sidewalk and got on his knees,” a man identified only as Jay G. told KGET. “Next thing you know, we all hear a car, and we all look, it’s a car with its lights off that hits him.”

Forbes’ sister, Espinola Parker, told the outlet that she believes the accident was “intentional.”

Bakersfield police followed up Thursday and said the investigation was still open.

Jay G. told KGET that the driver was never handcuffed and was seen smoking a cigarette by a police car. Sergeant Nathan McCauley said it’s not “a practice” to handcuff suspects involved in “traffic collisions.”

The driver was released Wednesday night. It’s unclear if he is facing charges.

“I just hope everybody that knows anything about this case comes forward with it,” Forbes’ sister told KGET, “because if not, just like with George Floyd’s case, it’s going to keep being this way.”

Forbes was hit during one of the thousands of protests nationwide against police brutality, spurred by the death of George Floyd after Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes last week.

A GoFundMe for Forbes, which has since been converted to help with funeral costs, has raised more than $43,000 as of Sunday morning.

Anyone with information is asked to call 661-327-7111 or email Officer C. Ott at cott@bakersfieldpd.us.

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Originally Published 2:35 pm EDT June 7, 2020
Updated 2:35 pm EDT June 7, 2020
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