Oregon police investigating allegation Phoenix mayor hit protester with car

Authorities are investigating allegations claiming that the mayor of Phoenix, Ore., hit a Black Lives Matter protester with his car.

Sgt. Jason Antley of the Medford Police Department told The Washington Post on Thursday a criminal investigation into the allegations against Mayor Chris Luz is underway.

video posted Wednesday from a Black Lives Matter protest on June 1 in Medford, Ore., shows a car moving steadily through a crowd of demonstrators. 

ADVERTISEMENT

A yellow car with the words "The Maids" painted on its side taps a woman, who is wearing a yellow shirt and holding a sign, twice, once with the front bumper and then with the mirror of the car.

At one point, the vehicle is completely blocked by protesters. He gets out to yell at a protester who reportedly dented his hood, saying, "I'm on your side, dude."

The woman claims she knows the driver of the vehicle to be Luz. She confronted him in person this week during a city commission meeting, according to the Post.

"The city of Phoenix cannot ignore that the mayor is in fact a criminal. There is absolutely no excuse for the actions that you took that day, Chris," the woman, Mikala Johnston, said during the commission meeting chaired by Luz on Monday. "Chris, you assaulted me."

The mayor of Phoenix reached out to The Hill for comment:

"The narrative out there is that I was 'accelerating' into protesters [but] if you carefully look at the video, I was crawling along at a rate of speed slower than any other car out there, literally crawling along so slow that walkers were passing me," he said. "So the narrative that I 'plowed into protesters is completely and utterly false."

Luz claims that the pedestrian woman who filed the complaint against him stepped slightly to the left while she was in the road, causing a minor collision between his front bumper and car mirror.

The mayor said he was at the scene because he was returning from an oil change when he and other drivers around him encountered protesters in and around the streets of Medford.

Luz said that many of the protesters in Medford were peaceful, calling for others in the streets to move out of the way from vehicles to avoid further traffic jams.

He called for the public to be patient and allow the investigation to run its course over the matter, adding, "I am confident that I will be cleared of any wrongdoing. Thank you for your patience and understanding."

Updated: 4:36 p.m.