Driver arrested after car plows into Manhattan protesters

National News

Emergency personnel respond to a scene where pedestrians were struck by a car during a protest Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in New York. Witnesses say the protest march was passing through an intersection at around 4 p.m. when a car went into the crowd. The New York Fire Department says six people were hospitalized. Police and fire officials said the injuries didn’t appear to be life-threatening. (AP Photo/David Martin)

NEW YORK (AP) — A woman who plowed her car into protesters Friday in New York City, injuring six of them, has been arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, police said.

Kathleen Casillo, 52, was released from custody after being given a notice to appear in court at a later date, police said. A message seeking comment was left at a number listed for Casillo. Online records did not list a lawyer who could speak on her behalf.

Bystander video showed a black BMW sedan suddenly accelerating as protesters gathered around the vehicle around 4 p.m. Friday near 39th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan. One person appeared to be leaning over the front of the car.

Tom Ella, who shot the video, said he heard the engine roar and saw the car accelerating.

“Just watching them actually hit people, it’s traumatizing, it’s horrifying,” Ella said.

Protester Sofia Vickerman, of Denver, Colorado, said people and a bicycle were tossed in the air.

Six people were taken by ambulance to hospitals with injuries that officials said did not appear to be life-threatening.

Casillo, of Rockaway Park, Queens, remained at the scene. She was taken into custody and questioned, police said.

Another woman, whom police described as a protester, was arrested for interfering with ambulance workers at the scene, police said.

Nicolle Besuden, 32, of Manhattan, was charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of governmental administration.

Besuden was also released with a notice to appear in court at a later date.

She called the allegations “false and incredibly damaging” and referred to an account of the incident from the injured protester she was helping, who said Besuden was providing care and comfort before EMTs arrived and that her arrest was uncalled for.

The protest march started in Times Square and was aimed at drawing attention to an ongoing hunger strike by immigration detainees at a jail in New Jersey.

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