Charges upheld for BLM protester, case dismissed for driver who hit him
An Indiana man who drove his SUV through a group of protesters, hitting them as they crossed the street, has had all charges against him dropped.
The incident occurred last year during a Black Lives Matter protest in the city of Richmond, Indiana. According to witness and police reports, Joshua Carey, 30, revved his engine before driving directly through the procession of peaceful marchers. Several of the protesters were hit, but Carey did not stop and continued to his Richmond residence where he was later apprehended by police.
Carey told officers that he did not think he had hit anyone but was ultimately charged with one count of criminal recklessness and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident, all misdemeanors. Five marchers were also charged in the incident and two of the marchers were listed as victims in Carey's charges.
Richmond Common Council member Kelley Cruse-Nicholson was trailing the protest procession in her personal vehicle when Carey plowed through the marchers.
"They just gunned it and dove straight through them," said Cruse-Nicholson. "l heard people screaming and saw water bottles flying up in the air."
"This can't happen. This is unacceptable in our city, I cannot believe what I saw. It's heartbreaking." Cruse-Nicholson immediately called authorities to report the incident and followed Casey's SUV to his residence where she waited until police arrived.
In a move that surprised political observers and victims alike, Carey was offered a pre-trial diversion program which would allow his charges to be dismissed. The agreement required him to:
Admit he committed the three offenses as charged;
Not commit a criminal offense for a 180-day period;
Pay a $274.50 diversion program fee within 30 days; and
Complete 24 hours of community service at a nonprofit.
Deputy Prosecutor Cris Gonzalez filed a motion to dismiss earlier this week, indicating Carey had completed all program requirements. The motion was accepted by Senior Judge Barbara A. Harcourt who has now signed the dismissal order, closing Carey's case.
Four of the five protesters who also received charges were also offered pre-trial diversion deals. Marchers Martin Hancock, 49; Elizabeth Nicholson, 31; Mackenzie J. Philpot, 23 were charged with misdemeanor obstruction of traffic, and Benjamin Lowell Guard, 24, the march's organizer, was charged with aiding, inducing or causing obstruction of traffic. All four accepted pre-trial diversion under the same agreement as Casey. Our360 News was unable to confirm whether those charged have completed pre-trial diversion programming. A fifth marcher, Elijah D. Gamber, 21, who received knee injuries after being struck by was charged and found guilty of misdemeanor obstruction of traffic. He was fined $185.50 for the offense.