Courtesy Louis Magriel/Reno Gazette-Journal

Police Charge Driver, Two Protesters in Columbus Day Hit-And-Run Incident

Sheena Louise Roetman

The 18-year-old man who drove through a crowd of 40 protestors was charged Friday with provoking assault and released on a $1,000 bond, police said.

Five people were injured when Nick Mahaffey rammed his white Nissan pickup truck into a group of Columbus Day protestors in Reno, Nevada, last week.

Police also charged two protesters involved in the incident. James Fletcher and Samuel Harry were both charged with simple battery, CBS News reported.

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, the protestors stopped under the Reno Arch on Virginia Street on Columbus Day to pose for a photograph when Mahaffey approached the group in his truck.

A live Facebook video shows the entirety of the incident.

The video shows the group marching down the street, mostly on the sidewalk, holding anti-Columbus Day signs and #NODAPL signs while drumming and singing. After stopping under the Reno Arch, which spans over a crosswalk, Mahaffey approaches the group honking and revving the engine.

A handful of men approach the truck and, while the video is difficult to understand, it’s clear that there was an argument between Mahaffey, his 17-year-old passenger, and the protestors. As more people approach the truck, the situation becomes even more tense until Mahaffey plows into the remaining group under the arch.

Police told the Gazette that the driver stopped "several blocks away and called police to provide his account of the events." At the time of the incident, police were not releasing any names.

Kitty Colbert, 59, was taken to Renown Regional Medical center for "non-life threatening lower extremity injuries," according to the Gazette. In a Facebook post, she described her injuries as "several small fractures."

Four others, including the driver and passenger, were treated on the scene for minor injuries.

The Reno Gazette-Journal published a statement from Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve and the Reno City Council:

"This incident is troublesome and saddens us deeply. I take these matters very seriously, and I believe they must be investigated thoroughly and promptly. Public safety is our highest priority, and I want all Reno residents to know that we are working swiftly and diligently to make sense of the events that took place last night. Please be advised that the Reno Police Department will hold anyone responsible accountable for their actions once the investigation has concluded.

"I respect an individual or group’s right to conduct lawful protest, and encourage people to express their First Amendment rights."

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bullbear's picture
Submitted by bullbear on
Thank you Ms. Roetman for providing an update on this horrible criminal act. In most instances such as this, the media would in time hear from the legal representative who have filed a lawsuit on behalf of their client. The lawsuit would be seeking coverage of all medical expenses, punitive damages and cost of the court. $1,000 bond is pittance for this hateful act that caused bodily harm to individuals during a peaceful, lawful public gathering. A slap on the wrist is hardly acceptable. The laws are to protect the public and it would be a horrible message if the perpetrators receive only a probationary period and community service. I thank our Creator for keeping his hands upon all our brothers and sisters for their safety and healing.

Turtle Island's picture
Turtle Island
Submitted by Turtle Island on
What a damn idiot the driver was!! I hope he's charged with attempted murder! That SOB is damn lucky he didn't kill anyone there! It's also a good thing I wasn't there otherwise there would have been real hell to pay! The guy is extremely fortunate to get away with his life after what he did and it was also wrong for those 2 protestors to be charged since they didn't do anything wrong! So what kind of damn justice is this where Natives are always getting the worst end of the stick each and every single time?!?!