The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Two people say they were attacked in D.C. by convoy members

D.C. police said they are investigating both incidents but have not made any arrests

The People's Convoy is made up of truckers and other vehicles that have been in the Washington region protesting covid-19 related mandates. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
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Two people say they were attacked by drivers in the trucker convoy that has been riding around the city for the past two weeks as part of a demonstration, even as D.C. police try to keep them out by blocking interstate exits into downtown Washington.

Police said they are investigating both incidents one that occurred March 16 on the Francis Case Memorial Bridge, which connects the 14th Street bridges with the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, and the other on March 20 at Dupont Circle.

No arrests or charges have been filed in either case.

Chris Rodriguez, director of D.C.’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said Friday officials remain focused on deterring the convoy from disrupting traffic and travel, though convoy leaders have called road blockages a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Rodriguez said the city is aware of threats made toward Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and D.C. police officers.

Convoy participants are protesting against vaccine mandates, which have largely been lifted, but their demonstration encompasses other right-wing grievances. On most days, the convoy has traveled around the Beltway, at times taken other highways or found their way onto city streets.

The uncomfortable leader of an angry crowd: Brian Brase and the ‘People’s Convoy’

On March 20, Kerry Bedard, said a member of the convoy rolled his vehicle into her at Dupont Circle.

Bedard, 73, said she first waved from the sidewalk in an attempt to ask the driver to stop honking while traffic was at a standstill. When he did not reply, she said, she walked into the street in front of his vehicle to ask him to stop beeping. She said he bumped her with his vehicle, which knocked her down and resulted in injuries to her foot and leg that require surgery.

A spokesman for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services said the person involved in that incident refused medical services. Bedard said she wanted to be treated at a specific hospital and was taken there by a friend.

The driver of the vehicle, who is from Ohio, told police “he was driving forward slowly” when Bedard “walked into the street and in front of his vehicle while yelling and then laid down in the roadway.”

Bedard denied that account, saying she was holding her small Shih Tzu at the time and would not have lain down. Efforts to reach the driver were not successful. Police classified the incident as “miscellaneous.”

The March 16 incident on the bridge occurred as a 33-year-old man from Alexandria, Va., was heading into the District on his motorcycle. The man said he got caught up in the middle of the convoy, and as did several other motorists, he “flipped off” the convoy drivers.

The driver did not want to be identified and The Washington Post does not generally identify victims of possible crimes without their consent.

‘People’s Convoy’ provoked and motivated by D.C. police roadblocks

The man said that while stalled in traffic, a truck driver opened his door in an apparent attempt to knock him off the motorcycle. He said the attempt failed, and he drove in front of the truck and stopped.

The man, earlier interviewed by WTOP, said other drivers got out of their vehicles and an argument ensued. He said they dragged him off his motorcycle, took his keys and assaulted him. He said they slammed his head into the pavement several times. He said the truckers had retreated by the time police arrived. He was wearing his helmet at the time.

Rodriguez said the city is coordinating with authorities in Maryland and seeing a “significant decline” in the numbers of vehicles and trucks in Hagerstown, estimated at about 100. He said the majority of the vehicles on the route now being personally-owned.

Rodriguez said that when convoy members do find their way into the city, police respond and “take action if any laws are broken.”

When asked about the two incidents where residents claimed they were assaulted by members of the convoy, Mike Landis, a co-organizer of the group replied in a text message: “no one was attacked." He wrote: ”...these people are looking for anything they can to discredit what we are doing. They either dont understand what this is about or dont like freedom.”