UPDATED: 8:15 a.m. ET, Dec. 13 —
The woman who drove a car into a group of Black Lives Matter protesters in New York City afternoon has been arrested and charged with reckless endangerment for the collision that hospitalized six people. Despite the seriousness of what transpired, Kathleen Casillo was released on her own recognizance and given a court date.
The 52-year-old resident of Queens was described by an eyewitness as one of two “white women” in the BMW that allegedly “sped” through the protest shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday.
The charges and her release without any bail seemed counter to the legal treatment afforded to Black people suspected of less severe crimes.
Notably, Kalief Browder, a Black teenager, was arrested and charged with stealing a backpack. He ended up staying in the notorious Rikers Island jail complex for years because his family couldn’t afford to pay the $3,000 bail.
A car driven by “white women” struck multiple people during a Black Lives Matter protest in New York City on Friday afternoon, according to an eyewitness participating in the march. At least six people were hospitalized, but the extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.
It was unclear whether the collision was intentional or an accident. Video footage recorded in the aftermath showed an apparent white woman being arrested by the NYPD.
To be sure, there is no proof the woman being arrested was the driver or involved in any way. However, bystanders can be heard on the video angrily yelling expletives at her. One voice screamed, “she hit five people!”
One bystander recorded video footage of the car driving through people.
The protest was taking place in the Murray Hill neighborhood on the east side of Manhattan a little after 4 p.m. when the car “sped” and came “plowing through,” one protester who witnessed the collision said in an emotional interview. She said two “white women” were in a navy blue BMW that hit “six of our nonviolent protesters.”
The protesters were demonstrating to show support for a group of ICE detainees staging a hunger strike in nearby New Jersey.
The witness said that police were able to respond quickly because they were already positioned in front of, on each side and behind the protesters. The woman who shown being arrested waited on the scene before she was taken into custody, suggesting the collision could have been a legitimate accident.
But with the current state of racial affairs in the United States, and especially surrounding the topic of the Black Lives Matter movement, it was only natural to be suspicious of the circumstances.
Violence from outside forces during nonviolent Black Lives Matter protests has been all but a constant this year, especially in recent months. In a major example, a white teenager Kyle Rittenhouse shot killed two white men during a Black Lives Matter protest in Louisville, Kentucky, in August.
About one week later, a car plowed through a Black Lives Matter protest in New York City. One of the people inside that car — a white woman named Juliet Germanotta — would later claim the driver panicked after being surrounded by the protesters and tried to drive away out of fear.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.