Truck driver hurt during Oakland protests supports cause, disappointed some turned violent

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A commercial truck driver reached out to KTVU to share his story about what happened to him when large crowds in Oakland turned out to protest the killing of George Floyd .

Tony Mendez of Folsom said he’s been driving a truck for 21 years and often makes deliveries in Oakland. He said nothing like this has ever happened before.

Mendez said he’s speaking out because violence has no place in the protest against police brutality . 

On Friday, Mendez returned to the intersection of Broadway and 27th in Oakland for the first time since he was attacked while driving a tractor trailer making deliveries to auto dealerships in the area.three weeks ago.

Shortly after 11 o’clock  on the night of May 29th, Mendez said he saw people looting the Target store.

One man in the crowd threw a bottle through the passenger window of his truck—putting a deep gash into Mendez’s right arm.

“It was a lot of blood. It was really scary,” said Mendez, “I just couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what to do.”  

The 50-year-old started shooting video with the cell phone that was on his dashboard as he tried to get away to get help,  but a woman stepped in front of his truck and initially blocked him.

He said the protestor let him through after he showed her his bloody arm.

Mendez said he lost a lot of blood and was concerned he would pass out. But he managed to drive to a nearby firestation where a crew called for an ambulance.                     

“I’m out here doing a delivery, supporting my family. The next thing I know, I’m a victim of violence and for what?” said Mendez.

On that same night, protestors jumped onto a supermarket delivery truck while it was on Interstate 880 in Oakland.

In San Jose, one man vandalised an suv while the driver was inside.

Mendez said these incidents are senseless and hurt the cause that protestors are fighting for:justice and racial equality. 

“Protest is fine, but hurting others and committing violence towards people who have nothing to do with police or politics just doesn’t make any sense.” said Mendez.

He said the seven stitches on his arm were removed last Friday and that he’s lucky he didn’t suffer serious injuries.

Mendez has words for the man who threw the bottle: “What you did was wrong. I don’t want nothing from the dude. Just don’t do it again. It’s a coward.”   

He said the doctor just cleared him to return to work driving a commercial truck Monday.

Despite the attack, he said he loves his job and has no concerns about driving in Oakland again.

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