Video footage showed a crowd destroying a Waymo self-driving car and setting it on fire in San Francisco on Saturday.
The car was reportedly driving through the city's Chinatown area Saturday night before a crowd began to gather around the white sport utility vehicle. Video footage posted on X (formerly Twitter) showed a large crowd first tagging the vehicle, before others began trying to break open the car's windows.
Two men broke a window and one of them appeared to use a skateboard to crash into a car multiple times, and people in the crowd were seen filming the incident. Other videos later showed the car burst into flames as a crowd formed around it. (Related: San Francisco Mayor, California Democrat Becomes Latest to Back Ballot Measure That Tightens Penalties for Retail Crimes)
— Michael Vandi (@michael_vandi) February 11, 2024
Michael Vandy, a witness to the incident, said: Reuters People were reportedly celebrating Chinese New Year and setting off fireworks before the event took place. Vandy said one person jumped onto the hood of the car and broke the windshield, noting that almost 30 seconds later a second person jumped onto the hood as well, and someone in the crowd applauded in approval.
“That's when it got wild,” Vandy told the outlet via X's direct message. Those who encouraged it, and those who were just shocked and started filming. No one stood up — [I] In other words, there was nothing they could do to confront the dozens of people. ”
According to Reuters, a Waymo official confirmed that after the vehicle's windows were smashed, someone threw a firework inside the vehicle, setting it on fire.
“There were no passengers in the vehicle and no injuries were reported. We are working closely with local safety authorities to respond to the situation,” Waymo said.
It is still unclear what caused the crowd to attack the vehicle, but San Francisco police confirmed they were investigating the cause of the fire and did not say whether any arrests had been made.