Canadian police are claiming a suspected left-wing terror attack on Freedom Convoy demonstrators in Winnipeg was merely a hit-and-run accident, despite video footage showing the driver, who is now in police custody, appearing to deliberately swerve and take out as many anti-lockdown demonstrators as possible, ultimately injuring four.
Photos and video footage recorded at the time of the apparent Friday night attack show that the driver, who rode alone, covered his face with a COVID mask as he swerved his white Jeep Patriot SUV and mowed down four Freedom Convoy demonstrators. Never bothering to stop at the scene, the driver sped off, with witnesses saying he ran a number of red lights as he fled from the area near the seat of Manitoba’s provincial government.
Three victims of the SUV attack were treated and released at the scene, while a fourth was reportedly transferred to a local hospital, treated, and later released. All are expected to make a full recovery.
Freedom Convoy protester hit by a car in a hit-and-run last night during the protest in front of Manitoba’s Legislative Building in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. pic.twitter.com/hbN4wBwvX1
— Marie Oakes (@TheMarieOakes) February 5, 2022
After many hours of silence from local officials and law enforcement, Winnipeg Police finally announced on Saturday that they had arrested the driver of the white SUV, saying that their suspect – a 42-year-old male from Headingley, Canada – resisted officers and led them on a brief chase down Winnipeg’s Portage Avenue before his eventual arrest. Despite the openly violent actions of the masked driver, authorities refused to call the incident a terror attack, or even an attack of any kind, instead portraying it publicly as a simple hit-and-run accident. Press members who gathered to hear the police statement sounded disappointed when a constable representing the Winnipeg Police Service told them that no Freedom Convoy members were suspected of or charged with any violent actions in the lead up to the SUV attack.
While they haven’t released the suspect’s name, police did announce that they’ve charged the 42-year-old male with a number of crimes that seem to suggest that his actions were intentional. The charges filed thus far are four counts of Assault with Weapon, two counts of Dangerous Operation of a Conveyance Cause Bodily Harm, two counts of Fail to Stop After Accident Knowing That Reckless, two counts of Fail to Stop at Scene of Accident, and one count of Dangerous Operation of a Conveyance.
Mainstream media outlets across Canada and the U.S. have stayed quiet on the issue, and Canadians close to law enforcement have suggested that the political views of those in power will ensure the driver’s true motives may never come to light, though police do say that his name will be released once charges are officially processed.
In a statement made after the suspected left-wing terror attack, Freedom Convoy organizers called on Canadian officials to denounce the “purposeful act of violence” and tone down their anti-freedom rhetoric, which at times has threatened government violence on the demonstrators.
“Freedom Convoy 2022 Winnipeg is a peaceful gathering that is a reflection of a greater movement that is occurring across Canada,” the statement from co-organizers Zoey Jebb and Caleb Brown read. “We call on our elected officials at all levels of government to denounce this purposeful act of violence on peaceful protestors who were obeying the law and call on them to engage in conversation and action to begin to heal the division in our country,” their statement continued on.
“Mandates and political rhetoric that intentionally divides families and communities have no place in Canada and it is time for us to work together in transitioning towards a return to an appropriate balance of freedom.”