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Denver man who drove through protesters says he had no intention of harming anyone

The driver who was filmed plowing through a group of protesters in Denver claims he did not intend to harm anyone and says he was only defending himself after they surrounded his car. 

Jonathan Benson was behind the wheel of the vehicle that was seen driving through a crowd of demonstrators protesting outside the Colorado State Capitol building following a grand jury’s decision on the Breonna Taylor shooting on Wednesday. 

Benson had approached the intersection of 14th Street and Lincoln when the group surrounded his vehicle and blocked his path, video of the incident showed. 

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Jonathan Benson says he did not intend to harm anyone when he drove through a group of protesters in Denver on Wednesday night

Jonathan Benson says he did not intend to harm anyone when he drove through a group of protesters in Denver on Wednesday night 

Benson was behind the wheel of the vehicle that was seen accelerating into a crowd of BLM demonstrators outside the Colorado State Capitol building

Benson was behind the wheel of the vehicle that was seen accelerating into a crowd of BLM demonstrators outside the Colorado State Capitol building 

Benson said he reacted in self defense after the group surrounded his car and smashed his windshield (pictured)

Benson said he reacted in self defense after the group surrounded his car and smashed his windshield (pictured) 

After a brief standoff lasting several minutes, he eventually accelerated into the crowd, knocking one person to the ground before speeding off down the road. 

Benson had not been publicly identified until Thursday when he addressed the incident saying he had become overwhelmed amid all the “chaos.’ 

‘I had the intent to defend myself, that’s it,’ Benson told Denver 7. ‘I had no intention of hurting anybody and I’m glad it was a bike that I ran over because I thought I ran somebody over, so I was glad that nobody got hurt.’ 

Benson said he was on his way to pick up a client when he saw police lights and ‘commotion’ near the intersection which had not been blocked off.  

‘I was looking right to see the accident and by the time I turned, I started getting surrounded by people,’ he said. 

Benson claimed protesters then began shouting at him and kicking his vehicle and at one point smashed a hammer on his windshield.

‘At that moment, I didn’t know if someone was getting in my car…it was just chaos,’ he said. 

Footage showed the moment a driver plowed through a group of Black Lives Matter protesters during unrest in Denver, Colorado, following the Kentucky grand jury's decision to not indict any of the police officers with the death of Breonna Taylor

Footage showed the moment a driver plowed through a group of Black Lives Matter protesters during unrest in Denver, Colorado, following the Kentucky grand jury’s decision to not indict any of the police officers with the death of Breonna Taylor

Police detained Benson shortly after, down the road, after they watched the incident through the street's halo cameras

Police detained Benson shortly after, down the road, after they watched the incident through the street’s halo cameras 

Shortly after driving through the crowd, Benson was detained by police who had watched the incident through the street’s halo cameras, but he was not arrested nor charged.  

Denver Police Department Division Chief Ron Thomas said the footage showed Benson appeared to be threatened during the chaos. 

‘I think that the vehicle was being kicked and then that individual kind of worked their way out of that situation,’ Thomas said. 

‘In the event someone is blocking you or you are surrounded by people, our advice is to stay in the car, lock your doors, do not engage with demonstrators,’ the police chief added. 

The incident happened around 9.15pm once the main protest had finished. During that time, a small group of protesters remained rallying in front of the Colorado Capitol building.  

No serious injuries were reported in the incident. 

The woman who was knocked to the ground, identified only as Kate, was not badly hurt but said the driver had hit her bicycle.    

Benson was not arrested nor charged in the inciden

Benson was not arrested nor charged in the inciden 

Protests erupted across the US (Denver pictured) following the decision on Wednesday to not indict the officers in the death of Breonna Taylor

Protests erupted across the US (Denver pictured) following the decision on Wednesday to not indict the officers in the death of Breonna Taylor

‘I was kind of going up on the hood and I was like, ‘No, I’m not doing this’, and I rolled over to the side,’ she told the Denver Post. ‘He wasn’t gonna stop even though I was, like, on his hood.’ 

She said she had come out to demonstrate after state officials ‘let Breonna Taylor’s murderers off’. 

The incident happened around 9.15pm once the main protest had finished. During that time, a small group of protesters remained rallying in front of the Colorado Capitol building. 

The protests erupted Wednesday night across the US after a grand jury indicted one Louisville officer in connection to the March 13 killing, but for shooting into a home next to Taylor’s that had people in it. 

No charges were brought against the other two officers who fired their weapons in her home. 

Civil rights activists decried the outcome as a miscarriage of justice and part of a nationwide pattern of unwarranted police violence against minorities

Civil rights activists decried the outcome as a miscarriage of justice and part of a nationwide pattern of unwarranted police violence against minorities 

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