NEW BEDFORD — A Florida man was arrested Sunday night and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon after almost running down two demonstrators who were part of a protest against the death of George Floyd.
Jamie Lee Silva, 34, was arrested by New Bedford Police at 10:07 p.m. at the intersection of Belleville and Coffin avenues, according to a police Lt. Nathaniel Rodriguez.
Victoria Wood of New Bedford, a witness to the May 31 incident, said she was with protesters who assembled earlier in the evening at County and Union streets. The procession marched through the streets and demonstrators were walking north on Acushnet Avenue at about 9:40 p.m. when the peaceful demonstration took a turn toward violence.
Wood said that as demonstrators marched in the street a truck was oncoming on Acushnet Avenue and the motorist yelled racial slurs at the crowd and splashed his drink at them, hitting a couple of the demonstrators, she said.
Wood said the motorist, a white man, then turned down one of the side streets and, in doing so, almost hit some of the demonstrators.
“He was leaving like a bat out of hell,” Wood said, adding it was “a traumatic experience for the victims” who were splashed by the drink and those who had to move out of the way to avoid getting struck by Silva.
“It all happened so fast,” Wood said.
“He almost struck two parties as he was driving, the reason he was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle.),” Rodriguez confirmed.
Silva was arraigned on Monday at New Bedford Third District Court and released on his own recognizance, according to a court clerk. He is due back in court on July 23.