A New York City woman who drover her BMW through a group of about 50 Black Lives Matter protesters in December 2020 rejected a plea deal on Wednesday that included six days’ worth of community service and a one-year suspension of her licence in favor of a jury trial.
Kathleen Casillo, 52, who is white, made an appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges that she drive into the demonstrators during a protest, but she argued that the protesters approached her vehicle, with some shouting and calling her “a white privilege b**ch” before banging on her car. Damage to the vehicle is clearly seen in photos that were taken following the incident, DailyMail.com reported.
The court offered her the plea deal, but she rejected it, meaning now the matter will be heard by a jury. She was issued a desk ticket over the incident and released a few hours after she was arrested. She was also charged with third-degree reckless assault on Feb. 22.
The report noted that BLM activists and demonstrators waited outside the courtroom to learn of the outcome of Casillo’s case.
A year ago, Casillo’s vehicle was captured on video moving through demonstrators, leaving at least nine of them injured. One victim claimed that she sped through the crowd.
“Last year on Dec. 11, Kathleen Casillo drove her car at top speed through a crowd of human beings. I was one of those human beings—I never saw her coming,” said Roque Rodriguez in an interview with AMNY. “She hit me flush from behind and set my body flying and flipping through the air and she kept driving.”
Rodriguez claimed that Casillo is just a racist.
“It’s white supremacy that allowed Kathleen to believe she had the right to end the lives of anyone that got in her way, especially BLM protesters,” she said.
Rodriguez went on to rip Assistant District Attorney Andrew Mercer for what she described as a lenient charge and for allegedly failing to follow up with seven of the nine people who were reportedly struck. But the Manhattan district attorney’s office said it “has attempted to speak with every victim in this case.”
“He did no due diligence, and instead assumed that Kathleen did not have bad intentions and that no one else was seriously harmed,” she said, according to the New York Post.
Another demonstrator allegedly struck, Tabitha Howell, said it’s “been a very long year.”
“Kathleen Casillo’s care left me with five bulging discs in my back and a traumatic brain injury,” she said. “It’s one thing to face physical recovery. It’s another to try to process what happened mentally and emotionally.”
Casillo, meanwhile, argued that she was actually the one victimized and that she only drove away after demonstrators began attacking her vehicle as she tried to make her way down a public road.
Casillo is due back for another court appearance on Jan. 28.
Protests erupted all over the country last year following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May. The protests, many of which were violent, continued for months and finally ebbed in the wake of the November 2020 election.
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