Yet Another Vicious Car Assault on Protesters in NYC



From a reader:

On Friday, December 11, in New York City, a group of about 50 people were marching in a protest against the U.S. treatment of immigrants. In several places around the country, immigrant detainees have gone on hunger strikes to bring attention to their inhumane conditions, including an increased risk of coronavirus infection. This NYC protest was in solidarity with a hunger strike by immigrants at an ICE detention center in New Jersey.

During the protest, a BMW drove toward the crowd. Some protesters, alarmed, surrounded the car and tried to block its path. Then suddenly, the driver revved the engine and accelerated. Bodies and bicycles went flying into the air, protest signs scattering to the ground. Tom Ella, who shot a video capturing the terrible scene said, “Just watching them actually hit people, it’s traumatizing, it’s horrifying.” Six people were taken by ambulance to the hospital. Fortunately, none sustained life-threatening injuries.

One protester, Nicolle Besuden, who was helping an injured person, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of governmental administration. Besuden says the charges are “false and incredibly damaging,” pointing to a statement from the injured person who said Besuden was providing care and comfort before EMTs arrived.

This car assault on protesters was vicious and life-endangering. The NYPD detained the driver, 52-year-old Kathleen Casillo, but she was only charged with reckless endangerment and released. Imagine if a Black person had driven a car into pro-police “blue lives matter” rally or some other fascist event. Would they be just given a ticket, or would their life have been in danger at the hands of the police?

A report cited in USA Today in July found that since the beautiful uprising began in spring against police murder and systemic racism, there had been at least 104 reports of assaults by vehicle drivers on protesters; 96 of these involved civilian drivers, eight were by law enforcement, and in 43 cases, malicious intent was established. In New York alone: In May, two NYPD cars rammed into a protest in Brooklyn, and Mayor Bill de Blasio declared this an “acceptable use of force.” About a week later, a man in Brooklyn drove over at least one person when bike-riding demonstrators gathered around his car. In July, an SUV hit bike-riding protesters in Manhattan, and the driver wasn’t arrested or charged. In September, a car plowed into a Black Lives Matter protest in Times Square—again, the driver faced no charges.

These attacks are in step with the rise in actions by fascist mobs who have been emboldened by Trump and others. These violent assaults against righteous protesters must stop!


NYC: Car plows into protesters, December 12, 2020



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