Robert Forbes died of his injuries days after he was struck by a vehicle during a protest in Bakersfield, CA. According to a GoFundMe account set up by his attorney Amar Shergill, Forbes was peacefully protesting with a large group of people at around 10:30 p.m. on June 3 when he was hit by a car.
He was brought to a Bakersfield area hospital in serious condition, and on June 6, Shergill shared that Forbes died of his injuries. According to Shergill, the group of protesters was “obvious to everyone in the area and many cars navigated the area safely.” The attorney’s post states that witnesses claim the car sped up before the impact, although this has been disputed by the police. Many people chased after the driver afterward until police arrived on the scene. The incident has caused anger and frustration on social media, with many saying that the police response was inappropriate and they “protected” the suspect.
No arrests have been made. The Bakersfield police posted that the incident is under investigation.
The Bakersfield Police Stated an Investigation Is Underway, But Many Are Unhappy With Their Response
The Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) issued a statement on Twitter with the information they have about the incident. In the initial tweet on June 3, the police department wrote: “At about 10:24 PM BPD respond to a report of a pedestrian that was struck by a vehicle on California Ave, east of Oak St. Victim taken to hospital with moderate to major injuries. Driver is in custody. Investigation is ongoing.” The BPD posted an update on June 6, stating that “The pedestrian involved in this collision has died from his injuries. His identity will be released by the Kern County Coroner’s Office at a later time. BPD Major Collision Investigation Team is investigating this incident.”
They added that a community member who followed the group of protesters sent the BPD a video of the incident. The police said the video shows “the ped moving northbound across the eastbound lanes of traffic towards the center median when he was struck. The vehicle that struck the ped had headlights on. It was traveling at a speed consistent w/the flow of traffic. Video & physical evidence show that the driver was not traveling above the speed limit. Officers tested the driver for influence of drugs/alcohol & found neither.” The BPD later released video evidence they’d gathered of the incident and encouraged witnesses to come forward and provide statements to the police.
Videos of the aftermath of the incident are trending on Twitter, especially one that shows the driver of the vehicle after police arrived on the scene. The person who posted the video wrote: “This man ran over a black protestor and the police would not put him in hand cuffs and let him stand around and smoke a cigarette and protected him. The man he hit is #RobertForbes.”
This man ran over a black protestor and the police would not put him in hand cuffs and let him stand around and smoke a cigarette and protected him. The man he hit is #RobertForbes pic.twitter.com/nJ8bQtop31
— Ø (@mvgold_) June 4, 2020
One person replied to the police’s statement, saying: “LIES. statements were not taken at the scene. Several witnesses saw the driver with the lights off including someone from the media. The driver accelerated into Robert Forbes. Why are you lying to the public when this is still under investigation?”
Another shared a video of the victim getting assistance on the scene, with the caption: “Protesters assist victim while Bakersville police department casually walk to active crime scene.” Warning: the video is graphic and may disturb some viewers. The video is available on Twitter. There is also another video circulating online that shows police officers walking toward the area where protesters told them the driver of the vehicle was. In the video, people can be heard telling the police to run and stop walking since it’s an active crime scene.
Someone who identified themselves as Forbes’ nephew posted on Facebook, saying: “My Uncle Robert Forbes was struck by a vehicle while attending a peaceful protest on [Wednesday] night June 3rd 2020.” The family member stated that it wasn’t an accident but a hate crime because they believed “the vehicle head lights were off and accelerated before intentionally colliding into Robert Forbes. Suspects attempted to flee as other protesters chased and followed the car.”
Forbes’ nephew also expressed frustration with the BPD, stating that: “When Bakersfield Police Department arrived on scene they allowed the suspects to have a cigarette while shielding them from protesters! They also only took suspects statements and REFUSED TO TAKE WITNESSES ACCOUNTS!”
The Driver of the Vehicle Posted on Facebook About the Incident Shortly After News of Forbes’ Death Broke
The driver of the vehicle was identified by many on social media as Kieth Moore. Shortly after news broke of Forbes’ death, Moore posted about the incident on Facebook. He wrote that “everything happened so fast it was right there people in the street in front of me I said what the f**k and tried swerving left but it was to late I had hit someone.”
He said after the incident, he told the protesters confronting him, “I didn’t mean to hit anyone I didn’t mean to hit anyone I didn’t see you guys in the street over and over again.” Moore continued, “I have wanted to go to the hospital and check on this guy and I was told not to so I wouldn’t put my family in danger for an accident.”
He then added, “I WILL TAKE THIS TIME TO WHOLE HEARTEDLY TELL THE FAMILY. OF ROBERT FORBES THAT I DID NOT AND WOULD NOT EVER RUN INTO OR HIT ANYONE WITH MY CAR I PRAYED FOR THE MAN AND I KNOW OUR PATHS HAVE CROSSED FOR A REASON IM [NOT SURE] WHY BUT THEY DID AND IM LOOKING FOR THE POSITIVE IN THIS I HAVNT FOUND IT YET ….MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO HIS FAMILY.”
He asked that people stop threatening his family because they have nothing to do with the incident, he was the one driving the car. He said he hoped that the investigation would show that it was an accident, and finished his post by saying, “ROBERT FORBES MAY U REST IN PEACE AND PRAY THAT UR DEATH DOSNT GO IN VAIN ME AND U NOW KNOW THE TRUTH SO GUIDE THESE PEOPLE TO SEE THE TRUTH AMEN.”