No jail time for woman who plowed car into BLM protesters and injured 6 people

Francis Akhalbey May 03, 2023
Kathleen Casillo, 53, plowed her car into Black Lives Matter protesters -- Photo Credit: Getty Images

A 53-year-old New York City woman accused of plowing her car into Black Lives Matter protesters won’t be locked up for her actions after she reached a plea deal with prosecutors. Per the New York Post, six people sustained injuries from the December 2020 incident, but Kathleen Casillo was ordered to complete five hours of community service after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.

Casillo could have received a seven-year prison sentence if she was found guilty. However, under the terms of the plea deal she reached with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the aforementioned misdemeanor charge she pleaded guilty to, could be downgraded to disorderly conduct violation if she completes her sentence and doesn’t get into trouble for six months, per her lawyer and prosecutor.

“You f—ed people’s lives up, you’re a criminal,” a demonstrator told Casillo outside Manhattan court on Monday. “You’re a criminal and you have not taken responsibility.”

The December 2020 incident happened during a Black Lives Matter protest on 39th Street and Third Avenue. Casillo, who was riding in her car with her daughter, told police she accelerated because she was panic-stricken and feared for their safety. In the video of the incident, several people are seen flying into the air after Casillo drives her vehicle into them.

Shortly after the incident, Casillo was taken into custody and later released without bail on reckless assault and reckless endangerment charges, per the New York Post. Despite the 53-year-old’s claim that she drove her car into the crowd out of panic as the protesters had become “aggressive”, the demonstrator said that wasn’t the case. 

“They didn’t do anything,” the demonstrator said. “My husband’s back was turned when you hit him and sent him flying into the air. His back was turned. How was that aggressive?”

Oliver Storch, who is Casillo’s lawyer, welcomed the outcome of the case. “We’re very gratified after an exhaustive and thorough review the Manhattan DA’s office has decided that Kathleen Casillo should not receive a criminal conviction, which we have maintained from the beginning of the case,” Storch said.

“Ms. Castillo is a retired grandmother who looks forward to putting this horrible ordeal behind her and spending time with her family,” Storch added. “Her thoughts and prayers go out to anybody injured.”

Casillo reached the agreement with the prosecutors after she initially declined two plea deals that would have seen her being ordered to complete six days of community service. Her driver’s license would have also been suspended for a year.

Prosecutors also explained they reached the new plea agreement with Casillo because she had a clean criminal history, adding that she did not also leave the scene. They also said it wasn’t her intention to hurt the protesters and she accepted responsibility for her actions.

“We believe, given all this, it is just to permit the defendant to try to earn a non-criminal disposition,” said Assistant District Attorney Andrew Mercer in court. “If she fails in fulfilling any of the conditions of this plea — that is, if she does not complete the community service or gets rearrested in the next year — she will not be permitted to withdraw her plea,” Mercer added. “The misdemeanor conviction will stand and she will face possible jail time.”

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: May 3, 2023

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