A driver has been charged with aggravated assault after ramming into a Black Lives Matter protester and breaking both of his legs in the process.
The incident happened in Johnson City, Tennessee, where 37-year-old Jared Benjamin Lafer stumbled on a road blocked by BLM protesters.
According to the reports, the driver was in the car together with his wife and their three young children when they were stopped by protesters who stood at the crosswalk next to an intersection.
As seen in the video taken by one of the witnesses, Lafer ran over the demonstrator who blocked his path before fleeing the scene. It is not clear what happened moments before the 37-year-old decided to ram into the protester with his SUV.
“Tonight at a peaceful protest for #BlackLivesMatter a car brutally ran over a photographer and a crowd of protesters who were lawfully in a crosswalk,” Brent Chaffin wrote as he shared the footage online.
Following the incident, Lafer was arrested and later released on a $20k bond.
The suspect was also fired from his job as a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker King. As owner Terri King revealed in an interview with News 11, Lafer “was an independent contractor with Coldwell Banker King.”
According to King, the 37-year-old “is no longer affiliated” with their company.
As the father’s lawyer insisted, his client “did what he felt was necessary to get out of a situation that he felt was dangerous to his family.”
“This is not a case about racism. This is a case about a man who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, faced with what he perceived as a dangerous condition, dangerous situation,” Attorney Mac Meade said.
“His entire family, his wife and his three young kids under the age of six were all in the car with him. And he did what he felt was necessary to get out of a situation that he felt was dangerous to his family.”
Following the incident that left a BLM protester with two broken legs, the New Panthers Initiative, the group behind the protest, insisted that “the driver was clearly in no danger and had no right to put other peoples’ lives in danger.”
“The driver could have turned left at the intersection, avoided the occupied crosswalk and easily taken another route, but chose to drive their car through a crowd lawfully using a crosswalk,” spokesperson Victoria Grace Hewlett said.
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