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Hit-and-run driver who plowed into protesters at anti-lynching rally arrested in Indiana

2020-07-11

Police in Indiana have arrested a woman who plowed into a group of protesters on Monday in Bloomington as they gathered to call for arrests in an alleged attack on a black man by white racists.

Christi Bennett, 66, was picked up in Scottsburg, Indiana, on Wednesday evening and charged with two felony counts of criminal recklessness, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury, also a felony, and a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury, police announced Thursday.

She was booked in Monroe County jail and released on $500 cash bond, the Associated Press reported. Bloomington is about 50 miles southwest of Indianapolis, in the southern part of the state.

A 29-year-old woman was knocked unconscious and her head lacerated when the vehicle drove into the protesters and kept going with her on the hood, according to footage of the incident posted on Twitter. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance. A 35-year-old man who clung to the side of the car trying to stop it suffered arm abrasions, police said in a statement Wednesday as they sought the driver. Both of them were eventually flung to the ground, and the driver fled, AP reported.

“We thank our police detectives for their tireless work over the last three days to identify and apprehend the driver,” Mayor John Hamilton said.

A passenger in Bennett’s car at the time was questioned and released without charges, police said.

The group was demonstrating outside the Monroe County Courthouse in response to an alleged attack on local civil rights activist and county human rights commission member Vauhxx Booker, who had documented a harrowing experience over the Fourth of July weekend. Several men jumped him, screaming racial epithets and implying they were going to get a noose, as he and a friend cut through some woods en route to an event.

Much of it was caught on video, yet officers from the Department of Natural Resources had declined to arrest anyone at the time. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb defended the state’s Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday, saying that the state conservation officers who initially responded to the 911 call about the attack on Booker were acting within prescribed protocols, AP reported.

The FBI is investigating the alleged attack and its aftermath.