Black America Web Featured Video
Last summer, Jared Benjamin Lafer drove his SUV through a small group of Black Lives Matter protesters in Johnson City, Tennessee, and then sped away. The vile incident left one victim with a concussion, brain bleed, and two broken legs — but a Tennessee grand jury said Lafer committed no crime.
Despite Lafer being captured on cell phone video rolling over a protester with his truck, the grand jury returned a “no true” bill on Tuesday — declaring there was not enough evidence to indict the 27-year-old, The Daily Beast reports. The verdict comes after a judge reduced the charges against Lafer from aggravated assault, a Class C felony, to reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony.
Watch the footage below.
As reported by Meaww, Lafer’s attorney claimed in court that he was simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” and that he found himself “faced with what he perceived as a dangerous condition, dangerous situation.”
The video shows a handful of protesters at the event, and none of them appeared to be armed or making threats towards Lafer.
Here’s more from The Daily Beast:
Victoria Hewlett, who was sitting in a parked car with her husband at an intersection just yards from the scene, told The Daily Beast that protesters were crossing the road in a pattern consistent with the walk signal. She says that Lafer pulled up behind her car, then swerved around her vehicle “pretty aggressively,” before rounding the corner and driving “directly into where the protesters were in the crosswalk.” She says — and Jonathan Bowers, Lafer’s primary victim, also states in a hospital-bed affidavit and subsequent testimony — that Lafer rolled slowly, without breaking, into the intersection, “bumped” him with his truck, and then suddenly “floored” the vehicle, running him over and leaving him unconscious in the road.
“The only thing that had occurred” before Lafler ran over Bowers, Hewlett recalls, was that protesters “kind of looked at him like, what the fuck? That’s where he apparently feels threatened. After he drives into people and they’re stunned and throwing their hands up, like what are you doing, that’s what he’s trying to construe as being in danger,” Hewlett told me.
After finding out that Lafer would face no charges. Hewlett told The Daily Beast that she is “appalled by the whole process.”
Adding, “But I had been getting trickles of information that the charges were getting reduced, so I already wasn’t super hopeful,” she said.
“It’s just been a slow burn of they’re going to let this guy get away with this. That’s how it always goes. I don’t really know what else to say at this point.”
READ MORE STORIES ON BLACKAMERICAWEB.COM: