Denver DA files charges against driver who hit protester

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DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver District Attorney’s office filed charges against a driver who hit a man during the George Floyd protests on the 1400 block of Broadway.

Thirty-seven-year-old Jennifer Watson is being charged with one count of third degree assault for knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to a protester. It is a misdemeanor with the possibility of six to 24 months in jail and/or $50 to $5,000 in fines.

Watson is also charged with one count of reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor and carries a $150 to $300 fine and/or 10 to 90 days in jail, for a first offense. In the case of a multiple offense, jail time increases to 10 days to six months and/or fines of $50 to $1,000.

During the George Floyd protests at the end of May, Watson was caught on video making a U-turn and driving into Max Bailey who jumped on her hood to avoid being run over.

A petition was created shortly after the incident to arrest Watson for her actions. The case was reportedly sent to the DA’s office on June 15.

According to the DA’s office, a court date has been set for Aug. 19.

Attorney Ryan Brackley is representing Watson, he sent FOX31 the following statement:

“On the evening of May 28, 2020, my client was just trying to get home, driving a route she took regularly, when she was diverted by protesters at the intersection of East Colfax and Broadway. 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. While stopped, a man jumped up onto the hood of her car and her windshield was smashed in two places.  She was terrified and fearful for her safety.

“There was no doubt tremendous pressure on DA McCann to file charges in this case, particularly after a video of the incident went viral on social media platforms.  The video did not show everything that happened, including my client’s fear and terror as her car was surrounded, as people kicked and hit her car from all sides, taunting and yelling at her, and ultimately smashing her windshield in two places and obstructing her view.  It was not reported on social media that my client was the first person to call 911 following the incident or that the investigation by the Denver Police Department started after she again initiated contact with the police the following day, again identifying herself as the driver, and before any report was filed against her.

“My client fully cooperated with the Denver police. We were confident that once the information that she provided, and the results of the thorough Denver police investigation was carefully reviewed by the District Attorney no charges would be filed.  She has already been subject to significant harassment and threats, damage to her property and her personal and professional reputations, all due to the initial, hasty and one-sided view of what happened to her.  She continues to cooperate with the Denver police to identify those who continue to threaten and harass her.

“The decision to charge Jennifer Watson is unfortunate but we remain confident that she will be fully exonerated.  Decisions to charge or not charge should be made based on facts, and what is right and just.  Charging my client, particularly after a lengthy period of hesitation and pressure on the District Attorney to charge is simply not the answer to the issues the Denver community is struggling with right now.”

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