North Carolina

North Carolina Driver Faces Hate Crime Charges After Hitting 2 Black Women With Her Car During a Police Reform Protest

Lisa Michelle O’Quinn of Greenville, North Carolina was arrested after hitting two Black women with her car during an otherwise nonviolent protest over the fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. in April. Elizabeth City has been the site of near-daily protests for weeks, and tensions in the city grew even further recently when prosecutors decided against charging the deputies involved in Brown’s death.

Devon M. Sayers and Joe Sutton of CNN reported that O’Quinn is currently in custody and faces two felonious counts of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill by the use of a motor vehicle; one count of careless and reckless driving, and one count of unsafe movement of a motor vehicle. According to CNN, O’Quinn could also face hate crime charges for her actions, pending an investigation into the “aggravating factors” of her motivation.

“O’Quinn was booked into the Albemarle District Jail with a $40,000 secured bond and will appear in court on Thursday [May 27],” Sayers and Sutton reported, adding that both victims involved in the attack have since been treated for minor injuries and released from a hospital.

“Brown, 42, was killed on April 21 by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies when they tried to serve him with an arrest warrant,” CNN reported. “District Attorney Andrew Womble announced last week that those deputies were justified in using deadly force, saying Brown ‘recklessly’ drove at the officers while trying to flee arrest.”

County police knew of potential problems in the city involving the protest, sending out a tweet in the moments immediately before it happened that read: “Attention! Be vigilant as Elizabeth City prepares for peaceful protests. Please expect delays as traffic may be redirected around citizens exercising their constitutional right to a peaceful protest.”

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