SEATTLE — A protester who was hit on Interstate 5 in 2020 has sued the city of Seattle, Washington state and the driver accused of hitting them, claiming the government negligently failed to protect the demonstrators.
Diaz Love, 34, was one of two people who were struck during a Black Lives Matter demonstration on July 4, 2020. Summer Taylor, 24, was also hit and died from her injuries.
Love suffered a traumatic brain injury, multiple fractures, lacerations and other wounds, according to the lawsuit.
Dawit Kelete is accused of driving onto I-5 via the Stewart Street off-ramp, hitting the group of demonstrators who had marched onto the freeway near Capitol Hill.
The lawsuit claims that Washington State Patrol’s longstanding policy is to not allow protesters onto the freeway due to safety concerns. However, that changed when racial justice protests erupted after the murder of George Floyd.
The protesters also reportedly felt a sense of security from law enforcement as the lawsuit claims WSP and the Seattle Police Department met with protest leaders, “assuring the protestors that they would protect them from harm.”
However, the lawsuit alleges WSP and SPD didn’t adequately block off roads or on- and off-ramps and didn’t provide lights or signage around the protesters to warn drivers of their presence on the night Love was injured.
The lawsuit seeks damages for Love’s physical pain and suffering, emotional distress and financial injury, including the loss of future income.
Kelete was charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving in 2020. He has a competency hearing on July 12.
A separate lawsuit filed in 2020 also claimed the city of Seattle and Washington state failed to protect protesters from harm. Taylor's family was one of the plaintiffs in that suit.