By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two days after a van crashed into a North Minneapolis bus shelter, people across the community are demanding answers. Six people were injured and two of them remain hospitalized in critical condition.

After hitting a Metro Transit bus, police said the 83-year-old driver then slammed into a bus shelter at the intersection of West Broadway and Lyndale. A new bus shelter was installed Thursday morning, and a short time later racial justice groups gathered to demand answers and accountability for Tuesday’s crash.

“We do not believe that Metro Transit police are equipped to investigate this matter as a criminal action and possibly as a hate crime,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, community activist.

Standing in front of the new shelter, speaker after speaker pointed fingers at Metro Transit police. Activists believe the crash was intentional and the case isn’t being taken seriously because the driver of the van is white and the victims are black.

“Do what we pay you to do. Bring justice to the six individuals who got hit,” said Marques Armstrong of Racial Justice Network.

“To just take this guy downtown and then just release him back into the public, seeing the type of danger that he just inflicted on our community, shows me that the people involved do not care about us,” said Chauntyll Allen of Black Lives Matter Twin Cities.

The group is demanding charges be filed based on the outcome of an independent investigation. Because they claim a field sobriety test was not done on the driver, they believe officers should be reprimanded. The Metropolitan Council said the driver was given a blood-alcohol test at the police station and it found no alcohol in his system.

“For that to happen for all those victims, it just kind of blew me away,” said Mel Brown, whose brother Anthony was one of the victims in the crash.

“He said that he was getting off the bus and he just got by the shelter. Then when he did that, the van came around and hit him,” said Brown.

He said his brother has broken ribs and is recovering in a nursing home. Brown says he won’t speculate on what caused the crash, but says his heart is with all the victims.

“I hope the rest of them are on the road to recovery. It’s just a terrible accident and it could have been a lot worse,” Brown said.

A spokesman for Metro Transit told us the investigation is ongoing and they hope to present a case to the county attorney’s office by the end of next week. The group at today’s press conference said they also want a meeting with the Met Council Chair to talk about their concerns surrounding this crash.

John Lauritsen

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