VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — During a press briefing Monday afternoon, Virginia Beach Interim Police Chief Tony Zucaro told the media his department was trying to find the driver of a red truck captured on video driving near a crowd of protesters at the Oceanfront Sunday night.
Zucaro said, “Right now, we are still looking for that vehicle. If anyone in the community is aware of who the operator or the occupants of that vehicle are, I would encourage them to call our detective bureau.”
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10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox found the driver and interviewed him Monday before the press briefing, unaware at the time that police were looking to speak to the driver. He wanted 10 On Your Side to only use his first name, Manny.
Video captured live by Chopper 10 Sunday night shows a red pickup truck flying American flags driving down Atlantic Avenue, narrowly missing protesters, some of whom can be seen hitting the truck with objects, kicking the truck and pulling on the flags.
He contacted 10 On Your Side because he wanted to set the record straight on what happened Sunday night from his recollection.
The driver told Andy he had seen the video and gave his explanation of what happened. He said a protester shattered his window and also hit him with the object. He showed Andy his injury.
Andy asked the driver if he was trying to run over the protesters. He replied, “I wasn’t. That was never the goal.”
In video from Chopper 10, there appeared to be a female protester standing in the front of his red pickup truck. She has both hands on the truck as if to stop it from leaving.
10 On Your Side showed the video to Manny who on social media is accused of trying to run over protesters. He denies that.
“If I was going to run over people, why wouldn’t I start with the female protestor standing in front of me as I was trying to leave? I wouldn’t run her over, but she was standing in front of me.”
A protestor can also be seen striking Manny with a stick-like object, and he showed the arm wound as proof according to him.
“I was creeping forward. I wasn’t going to stop because we were under attack. I mean look at my arm. We were getting attacked. hey literally knocked my dog out. They hit my fiancé with a bottle as she was riding in the back of the pickup.”
10 On Your asked Manny if he is a racist which is also stated on social media.
He said his mother is African American.
“It is ridiculous. My mother is black, my father is Mexican, and my two adoptive parents are black.”
Manny says he was supportive of police and told them so every time he saw an officer while he was walking that evening.
Recent video has surfaced showing Manny exchanging words with those who were part of the Black Lives Matter protest.
Protest organizers told 10 On Your Side the driver of that truck was aggressive before the incident.
“I was flying the American flags. Everyone wants to stand for what they represent, ” said Manny.
“I represent patriotism. I stand for the unity of one. I support Black Lives Matter, but I do not support the violence.”
Protest organizers told 10 On Your Side Manny was revving his loud truck, which has serious muffler issues, to intimidate and that he should not have been in the middle of the protest.
10 On Your Side asked him was he looking for trouble?
“No, sir. The police told me to go one way. By the time I got there, all the protesters were there,” said Manny. “I stopped the car. My goal was never to hit anyone my goal was never to run anyone over. My goal was to leave.”