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News

Food service company stands behind driver arrested during Maine protest

"We stand behind our driver, who was lawfully attempting to perform his work, as he proceeded down a then-unobstructed and unbarricaded street,” said Kate Starr of Golden State Foods

A California-based food service company is standing behind a driver whom police arrested in Portland, Maine, on Monday after he drove his tractor-trailer into an area filled with protesters.

Anthony McAfee, 45, of Massachusetts, who drives for Quality Custom Distributors (QCD), a subsidiary of Golden State Foods, headquartered in Irvine, California, was arrested and charged with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, a Class C felony, by the Portland Police Department. He was taken to the Cumberland County Jail in Portland and released on bail.

“A tractor-trailer truck that completed a delivery on Middle Street drove through the group that was gathered in front of the police station just after 9:30 p.m. [on Monday],” according to a statement provided by Portland Police Lt. Robert Martin. “The driver and his passenger were being confronted by protesters when police were able to intercede. The driver was taken into custody when police and the occupants of the truck started to be attacked.”

Martin told FreightWaves that McAfee was charged because there were a few hundred people on the road and he drove into the crowd, forcing protesters to move out of his way. 

“He was driving a tractor-trailer and this would be considered a reckless act with an instrument that could cause serious bodily injury or death,” Martin said.

No protesters were injured in the incident.

McAfee’s company disagrees.

Kate Starr, director of corporate communications of Golden State Foods, confirmed that McAfee works for the company but disputes the charge filed against him.

“Our driver did not drive a vehicle into a crowd and he was lawfully proceeding down a street and quickly and suddenly became engulfed by a large group of people participating in what appeared to be a moving protest,” Starr told FreightWaves. “We stand behind our driver, who was lawfully attempting to perform his work, as he proceeded down a then-unobstructed and unbarricaded street.”

She said McAfee slowed his truck and stopped when he encountered the moving group of protesters.

“Our driver complied with all laws and directions from the authorities responsible for maintaining order and safety in the area,” Starr said.

Some truck drivers have experienced similar issues and are concerned about their safety when traveling in protest areas where looting and vandalism have occurred.

According to police accounts, a few hundred protesters damaged multiple businesses after the majority of peaceful protesters dispersed around 8:30 p.m. on Monday. 

Martin said demonstrators threw bottles, rocks, bricks and urine at several officers and swarmed some officers’ vehicles. According to some news accounts, some protesters “threatened them [police officers] with death.”

Police used pepper spray and tear gas on protesters who were throwing projectiles at officers. 

Of the 23 arrests, McAfee was the only one charged with a felony.

Protesters have been demonstrating against police brutality for over a week after George Floyd, a black man, died while being restrained by ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin, who has been charged now with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, was videoed by a bystander holding a knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, during which time Floyd repeatedly claimed that he couldn’t breathe. 

According to court documents, ex-Minneapolis police officers Thomas Lane, 37, Tou Thao, 34, and J. Alexander Kueng, 26, have all been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

Read more articles by FreightWaves’ Clarissa Hawes

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Clarissa Hawes, Senior Editor, Investigations and Enterprise

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and Trucks.com. Clarissa lives in the Kansas City area with her family. If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to chawes@freightwaves.com.

6 Comments

  1. It is disturbing that while innocent truck drivers are coming under attack by “peaceful protestors”, being looted and having their trucks damaged, lives threatened while they are simply trying to do their jobs, which includes getting goods to these communities, are being arrested for trying to proceed through a street, while under duress and fear of an attack? The police can’t protect themselves much less the truckers. The protestors are unlawfully blocking a street without a permit, while violating a governor’s order to stay home. The criminals are the ones walking in the street, not the drivers! Here in Portland, OR, if a driver stops, he will be attacked and succumb to looters and possibly beaten to death. I demand that my drivers proceed with caution and do not stop for their own safety, as should all other companies! The local governments are catering to unlawful gatherings, which is a crime under the “stay home, stay healthy” overreach by them and to charge this man with a felony, while he’s done nothing wrong is an outrage!!!. Business owners arrested for opening, but it’s okay for 10,000 people to walk arm in arm in the street? I digress, but, please everyone, make your vote count! We support you, Anthony McAfee!!! We’ll be watching as this story unfolds. These charges had better be dropped. The man committed no crime!!! Shame on them!

    1. Stop all deliveries to that town.
      I’m a semi driver if surrounded by an angry mob what the H are we supposed to do get beaten to death.

      Should it be them or me it’s not going to be me.

      If I was that driver I’d sue that city to the limit.
      They choose NOT to protect that driver.

    2. So throwing all kinds of crap at officers is not a crime since when .in some states it’s a felony to do this to officers but what do I know I’m just a stupid truck drive that apparently has no rights to protect myself or my truck from all these domestic terrorists because that is what they are and should be labeled

  2. $600 extra unemployment fuels the riots.

    America’s degenerates and incels get more money unemployed then working.
    No incentive to return to work for those who make less than $60k yearly.

    Low-lifes have plenty of time to riot until July while collecting EI.

  3. protesters have rights, truck drives do not.
    Protesters above the Law, lawful business are not.
    protesters votes count, your votes do not.
    Wake up America !

  4. Thank you Golden State Foods for standing behind your driver. Shame on the Portland, ME police department for arresting and charging this hard working man with a felony, of all things while the protesters walked away. It saddens me that some punk individuals who have nothing better to do than cause havoc among our cities and towns can get away with this. Entitled brats who need discipline is all they are.
    Thank you to all the truck drivers and their families out there who have not slowed down, but in fact, sped up to make sure our shelves are stocked with the essentials we need to live. Without you, this world stops, so again, THANK YOU!!!!

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