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Woman charged with felony in Breonna Taylor protest hit-and-run

ABC News logo ABC News 9/26/2020
a group of people riding on the back of a bicycle: In this screen grab taken from a video, a car speeds past protesters in Buffalo, NY., Sept 23, 2020. © WKBW In this screen grab taken from a video, a car speeds past protesters in Buffalo, NY., Sept 23, 2020.

Police arrested a 25-year-old woman in a hit-and-run incident during demonstrations in Buffalo earlier this week over a Kentucky grand jury's decision not to charge three police officers in the death of Breonna Taylor.

The Buffalo Police Department said it charged Joanna Gollnau, 25, of Buffalo, on Friday with felony reckless endangerment in the first degree and reckless driving for allegedly striking a bicyclist with her pickup truck during a protest in Niagara Square on Wednesday night.

MORE: Protesters hit by vehicles at Breonna Taylor demonstrations in Buffalo, Denver

The incident in Buffalo unfolded as protesters marched in the street near Niagara Square in the downtown area in the hours following the announcement of the grand jury's decision in the fatal Louisville police shooting of Taylor. 

Graphic video taken by ABC affiliate station WKBW-TV in Buffalo showed a maroon and white king-cab pickup truck drive directly into a group of demonstrators who pounded on the side of the truck and yelled for the driver to stop just before a protester on a bicycle was hit. The footage shows the truck speeding away as protesters on foot gave chase.

Buffalo police officials said the driver was eventually stopped by officers and detained for questioning.

a group of people walking down a street: In this screen grab from a video, protesters run after a truck after sped through a crowd and hit a person during a protest outside City Hall in Buffalo, NY., Sept. 23, 2020. © WKBW In this screen grab from a video, protesters run after a truck after sped through a crowd and hit a person during a protest outside City Hall in Buffalo, NY., Sept. 23, 2020.

The protester struck suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to Erie County Medical Center for treatment, police said Wednesday night.

A spokesperson for Slow Roll Buffalo, a nonprofit community group of bicycle enthusiasts, said that the woman who was hit by the truck is a member of its board of directors. She is now home and feeling fine, the organization said on Friday.

Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo told WKBW that the department used video footage, including social media posts and city surveillance cameras, in its investigation. He told the station he was unsure of a motive, and that Gollnau has been cooperating with police. She is set to be arraigned on Nov. 3, according to WKBW.

A similar incident unfolded in Denver Wednesday night. Video taken by ABC affiliate station KMGH-TV in Denver showed a silver Volvo station wagon approach demonstrators marching in the street outside the state Capitol Building and then stopped. Several protesters were standing in front of the vehicle and banging on its hood as the car moved forward and accelerated, knocking one female protester to the ground, the footage showed. The driver sped away but was stopped by police and detained, police said on Twitter.

The two incidents came just hours after a Kentucky grand jury indicted former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree in the shooting that killed Taylor, but neither he nor the other two officers involved in the fatal encounter were charged in her death.

The two hit-and-runs on Wednesday marked the latest in a series of incidents in recent months in which protesters have been struck while marching in demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice. On July 4, a protester was killed and another was injured when a car barreled into a Black Lives Matter protest on a closed freeway in Seattle.

ABC News' Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.

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