Philadelphia police are actively investigating a video posted on Twitter that appears to show a driver purposefully hitting a cyclist and then driving off.
The video was posted by Twitter user @BenjifromPhilly at 12:55 PM on May 10th and has been viewed 323,000 times and retweeted more than 4,000. The video caption reads: “When these pedal bikes [sic] n***as don’t respect cars.” During the seven-second video, a person is heard saying “bitch ass n***a” just before striking the cyclist, who was riding in a bike lane at what appears to be the 5200 block of Florence Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia.
It’s unclear whether this video is real or a stunt. The twitter user appears to have posted a few other viral videos.
The video poster responded to a direct message from PlanPhilly requesting to speak, declining to speak but claiming he merely found the video: “Im not willing to talk. The video is not in Philadelphia. My twitter handle and the video come from 2 different places. The video found online and I reposted it.” [Sics throughout]
They also responded to a tweet from a PlanPhilly reporter by saying, “[Crying with joy emoji] Looking into investigation, how you know if the video was in Philly or not, you assuming & no.. I don’t wanna talk on your talk show.”
After PlanPhilly reached out to the video poster, the user changed their Twitter handle to @BenjifromTexas.
Dozens of Twitter users responded to the original tweet by tagging the Philadelphia Police Department’s handle, @PhillyPolice, to tip them off. Others tipped off the Federal Bureau of Investigations @FBI account as well. Many others appeared to find the video humorous.
While the police confirmed that there is an active investigation, they said that no victim has yet stepped forward to report a hit-and-run.
If the video was not staged, the driver could face serious charges, including aggravated assault and leaving the scene of an accident.
The video was posted just days before the annual Ride of Silence, a bike ride commemorating cyclists who died in the past year. According to ride organizers, eight cyclists have been killed in the Delaware Valley since the previous year’s ride. That includes a 34-year old man struck and killed Saturday night by an SUV on Spring Garden Street.