Jared Lafer who ran over BLM protester in Tennessee won’t be indicted, says jury

Despite video evidence showing Jared Benjamin Lafer running over a protester, the jury returned a 'no true' bill, even after the judge reduced charges


                            Jared Lafer who ran over BLM protester in Tennessee won’t be indicted, says jury
Jareb Benjamin Lafer once joked about running over protesters (Washington County Detention Centre)
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JOHNSON CITY, TENNESSEE: Jurors in Johnson City, Tennessee have refused to charge a White man for running over a White BLM protester in September 2020. Despite video evidence and reduced charges, jurors returned a "no true" bill, thus letting Jared Benjamin Lafer off the hook for his actions that resulted in a concussion and two broken legs. Jurors dropped all charges on September 27, which his attorneys called a "big deal, and it’s a rare deal."

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Separately, in August, a judge allowed Jonathan Pentland to pick between a fine and jail time after he was found guilty of shoving a Black man. In July 2020, the killers of Timothy Coggins were finally brought to justice and jailed after 35 years. Controversially, Mark and Patricia McCloskey were pardoned by Governor Mike Parson, despite being found guilty of assault and harassment.

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The controversial ruling in favor of Lafer has not gone down well with many on social media, who have since slammed the news and dubbed it "racist". Not only was he caught on camera, but it appears Lafer once joked about running over protesters before those posts were removed from social media. 

'Knew from day one that I was not guilty'

On September 13, 2020, Black Lives Matter protesters were protesting in Johnson City. Lafer's white SUV was stopped by one protester, identified as Johnathon Bowers. Unmoved, Lafer ran over Bowers and went on his way, leaving the protester with two broken legs, a concussion, and a brain bleed. The entire incident was filmed by Victoria Hewlett, which was used as evidence against Lafer in court. 

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That shocking cellphone footage, which went viral sparked a two-day manhunt for Lafer. He never returned to check on Bowers, but drove straight back home to North Carolina, and hired an attorney before turning himself in. Before his arrest, Lafer also deleted a "this is great" comment on a meme about running over protesters. However, it was preserved in screengrabs and also widely circulated online. 

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Along with those screengrabs and video footage, prosecutors also used testimony from Bowers in court, but it was all in vain. The 12-person jury refused to indict Lafer, even though the judge reduced charges from a Class C felony to a Class D one. "I knew from day one that I was not guilty, and it took the grand jury — 12 people — to prove that as well," Lafer told the media outside the court after the verdict. His attorney Mac Meade added, "We always had great confidence that once we had a trial on the matter, that the jury would return a, ‘not guilty,’ for Mr. Lafer... Having a no true bill issued by the grand jury is a big deal, and it’s a rare deal. It doesn’t happen by accident."

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'Alas, it’s Amerikkka and money rules!'

Social media was left fuming by the verdict and made their anger known. "It’s also racist as hell no matter what the country music artist of Nashville say when they themselves aren’t caught being racist," one person said in response to the news. Another replied, "Life sure is different for white folk." One user commented, "Protesters should be armed for situations like this so that they can defend themselves. Particularly in states where vehicular assault is somehow legal now."

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"Another reason not to visit Tennessee along with low vaccinations," a person replied. One user called the verdict, "Outrageous and Sickening." Another person tweeted, "Shame civil suits are the only recourse against racists’ attacks…but alas; it’s Amerikkka and money rules!"

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"Absolutely F'N insane! So now this type of behavior is acceptable and justified???" one user asked. Another noted, "Well the Jan 6 traitors who went to kill the Vice President and Speaker of the House, were only charged with parading without permit so trickle down non justice seems to be the order of the day."

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In court, Lafer's attorney claimed 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." As video evidence shows though, there were only around 10 protesters at the event, and none of them appeared to be armed or make any threats towards Lafer. Nonetheless, he's now a free man, and one of the many who have gotten away with ramming through protesters. 

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