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Driver Arrested After Car Plows into Manhattan Protesters

December 12, 2020

NEW YORK — A woman suspected of plowing 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 Beach, 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. A message seeking comment was left with a lawyer representing her in a pending case.

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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