A New York City mother who is accused of slamming into a group of Black Lives Matter protesters in the city back in 2020 has refused a plea deal, the Daily Mail reports.
Kathleen Casillo, 54, a mother of three was offered a deal of community service and a one-year suspension of her operator’s license but she has refused the deal. Instead, she is now facing up to seven years in jail.
This was the second time she was offered a deal in exchange for a guilty plea and the second time she has refused it. She instead is electing a jury trial.
Casillo appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court earlier this week almost two years after the incident, which occurred on December 11, 2020, where she allegedly drove into BLM protesters at the intersection of 39th Street and Third Avenue.
Casillo and her attorney told the judge there was no interest in a plea deal. She has claimed that the demonstrators approached her car and called her a “white privilege bitch” before starting to pound on her car, a tactic which was routinely employed by BLM protesters in the wake of the George Floyd death in Minneapolis.
Casillo, who said she feared for her safety, panicked and accelerated forward when the protesters attempted to open the door to her vehicle. The incident allegedly caused nine of the rioters to be injured.
Last year, the Daily Mail conducted an exclusive interview with Casillo, during which she feared for her daughter’s life as her car was surrounded by an unruly mob who started attacking her car. She felt she had no other choice but to drive off in order to protect them both.
After she was apprehended by police, she was issued an appearance ticket by the NYPD and was released hours after she was booked. Casillo’s 29-year-old daughter, who accompanied her in the car, was not charged. Casillo however was later charged with reckless assault.
“My side of the story was we were attacked by people who were going to break my daughter’s window and pull her out of the car, so I feared [for] my life,” Casillo said at the time.
“I feel sick,” she continued, while noting, “I never intended on hurting anyone. I just feared for my daughter’s life more than anybody. I thought they were going to pull her out of the car.
“They’re just making the black community look like they’re thugs. One of my closest friends is a woman of color, from when I was 19 years old, so it’s not a black, white thing. I don’t even know the color of the people that I hit. It was all mixed.”
After the incident, video was posted to social media which showed Casillo’s Black BMW plowing through the crowd of an estimated 50 BLM protesters. Her car was damaged in the incident.
Subseqent to the incident, a number of protesters allegedly injured in the incident were transported to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.
Since that time however, Casillo and her family have been subject to death threats, according to her daughter Dominique. Police have been providing security for her home, located in the Howard Beach section of Queens since her identity became public.
Last year, after an appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court, Casillo had to be escorted into the building by security officers, with a violent mob outside accusing her of being a “female Kyle Rittenhouse.”
Rittenhouse of course famously shot and killed two men and injured another in self-defense in Kenosha, Wisconsin, also in 2020. He was subsequently acquitted of all charges by a Wisconsin jury.
Dominque Casillo told the Mail this week:
“You know when you picture a protest, you picture a bunch of [people] protesting for something. That’s not what we saw.”
She described the incident as a “traumatizing situation,” while noting that she and her mother were simply driving down “an empty street” when “a few people came out of nowhere.”
“It didn’t look like a protest,” she recalled. “It was more like being attacked by random people who were being menaces.”
She also noted that the protesters who attacked her mother’s car “weren’t really part of the protest,” noting the actual protest was “a block up.”
“They were just lingering and pulled out of nowhere before we stopped the car,” Dominique recounted. “”we waited, watched the light turn green, [then] red.
“We waited a long time, and they were just there like this, doing nothing. Then they walked away just a little bit so we could move,” Dominique recalled. “We started driving and they started attacking the car. So naturally we stopped again, and that’s when they started hitting [the] car, cursing us out. I was really scared, honestly.”
Dominique said when someone was able to crack her window down a bit that her mother started driving off.
“We said we have to get out of here because they’re not going to stop. There was no other car around,” she continued. “There might have been cars behind us but we were the first car on an empty sidewalk, so it was just like, ‘wrong place, wrong time?’ I don’t know.”
Dominique referred to the situation as “sad,” noting that there are “some bad menaces that go and ruin protest[s] because there were people there protesting for a cause and they were just there looking for trouble.”
Dominique said that after the incident, harassment of the family continued on Twitter, with people referring to her as a racist. She called the comments “really traumatizing.”
Casillo was apparently painted as some kind of racist bigot because she supported former President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and she liked a group on Facebook called “I Stand With Rudy Giuliani,” Trump’s personal attorney.
Casillo has vehemently denied being a racist, referring again to one of her close friends being a “soman of color.” Her attorneys have also dismissed claims that she is a racist and intentionally hit the BLM protesters because of it. They referred to it as a “false narrative…that is without merit and deeply disturbing.”
Casillo’s attorneys have noted she has zero criminal history nor any “history of having hurt anybody,” while saying “her heart goes out to the victims.”
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