Who is Jennifer Watson? Denver woman who ran over George Floyd protester found 'not guilty'
DENVER, COLORADO: A woman accused of running over a demonstrator protesting last year in the wake of George Floyd's murder has been found "not guilty" of assault charges after she told the court she was scared for her own safety. Identified as Jennifer Watson of Denver, Colorado, the woman was caught on camera sitting behind the wheel of an SUV, surrounded by a crowd of protesters, before hitting a man as she attempted to drive off.
The incident took place near the Denver Capitol just three days after Minneapolis man George Floyd died during an arrest procedure from convicted ex-cop Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes. Protesting against the heinous murder that was caught on phone cameras, a group of people had gathered at Denver when Watson tried to commit a hit-and-run. Her lawyer claimed there was an outrage against her, with demonstrators kicking and hitting her car, as some also yelled at her. One of the protesters then jumped on the hood of her car, and out of fear she decided to run over him.
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Who is Jennifer Watson?
The 37-year-old woman, is the owner of a "home improvement" business called JP Interiors. She was charged with assault and misdemeanor reckless driving after video footage showed her trying to run over a protester last year, on May 28, 2020. Watson was reportedly caught in a traffic jam as demonstrators in Denver protested against the death of George Floyd. According to Watson's lawyer Ryan Brackley who spoke with local NBC channel 9News, the woman was simply trying to get home when she was "diverted" by the group of protesters near the Capitol.
"She was alone in her car with her dog when she was surrounded by people who began kicking and hitting her car and taunting and yelling at her," Brackley told the channel, adding: "While stopped, Mr Max Bailey jumped up onto the hood of her car and her windshield was smashed in two places," which made her "fearful for her safety." Brackley detailed the incident and subsequent case proceedings in a recent Facebook post, where he remarked about the 'not guilty' verdict saying: "Ms. Watson should not have been charged. We appreciate the jury's verdict of not guilty to the assault charge."
Downtown denver. Some girl turned around to run this guy over #GeorgeFloyd #icantbreathe #downtowndenver #denver pic.twitter.com/eirohGGPr5— Anabel (@bellers03) May 29, 2020
Did protester stop Watson from 'running over' others?
This comes after footage of Watson running over the protester identified as 22-year-old Max Bailey went viral last year. Different angles of the same incident shows Watson sitting inside the car and showing the middle-finger gesture to protesters huddled around her vehicle. The victim, Bailey, is seen in the video approaching Watson's car and jumping on her hood before she attempts to run him over. He has since told that he climbed atop the hood to protect the other protesters from Watson.
"The reason I was in front of the car was to make sure everyone was safe and to get this lady to stop from running over protesters," Bailey had told reporters just a day after the incident. "The reason I got on top of the car was because she accelerated into me and I'm not going to lie down and let somebody run over me," Bailey elaborated. Watson, however, was found guilty of a misdemeanor reckless driving charge. The punishment she was given for this misdemeanor has not been made public. It's been reported that the verdict on her case was arrived at after a Republican leadership called for anti-rioting legislation.