A North Carolina man was arrested Monday after footage showed an SUV running over a Black Lives Matter protester during a rally in Tennessee on Saturday. 

Jared Benjamin Lafer, 37, handed himself in to police and was charged with one count of aggravated assault, officials said.

A clip posted to Facebook over the weekend had shown the moment demonstrator Jonathan Bowers, 31, was hit standing in a crosswalk in Johnson City. 

The driver of the Ford Expedition, later identified by police as Lafer, heads straight at the protester, knocking him to the ground before driving over him and leaving the scene. 

Lafer’s attorney confirmed his wife and his three young children under the age of six were all in the car with him, adding: ‘He did what he felt was necessary to get out of a situation that he felt was dangerous to his family.’

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Jared Benjamin Lafer, pictured, has been charged with one count of aggravated assault

Jared Benjamin Lafer, pictured, has been charged with one count of aggravated assault

Footage shows as the demonstrator was hit in Johnson City on Saturday. The driver of the SUV, later identified as Lafer by police, heads straight at the protester, knocking him to the ground before driving over him and leaving the scene

Footage shows as the demonstrator was hit in Johnson City on Saturday. The driver of the SUV, later identified as Lafer by police, heads straight at the protester, knocking him to the ground before driving over him and leaving the scene

In the clip the protester is seen standing in front of the SUV, along with at least one other demonstrator.

It is not known what led up to the incident but the driver then mows the demonstrator down.  

After knocking the protester to the ground the motorist drives over his legs before fleeing the scene. 

A second protester with a dog can be seen standing just yards away.

The person recording the footage says ‘o my god’ as other protesters then rush to helped the man mowed down. 

Lafer, who was released on $20,000 bond, is from Bakersville, which is an hour from Johnson City. Online profiles for Lafer show he is a real estate agent

Lafer, who was released on $20,000 bond, is from Bakersville, which is an hour from Johnson City. Online profiles for Lafer show he is a real estate agent

More than 1,000 people have since signed a petition to see the driver charged with attempted vehicular homicide. 

Posting the footage online, Brent Chaffin said: ‘Tonight at a peaceful protest for #BlackLivesMatter a car brutally ran over a photographer and a crowd of protesters who were lawfully in a crosswalk.’

Lafer, who was released on $20,000 bond, is from Bakersville, which is an hour from Johnson City. 

Online profiles for Lafer show he is a real estate agent who had worked for Coldwell Banker King. Owner Terri King told News 11: ‘Mr. Lafer was an independent contractor with Coldwell Banker King. He is no longer affiliated with our company. We have no relationship with Jared Lafer.’

Lafer’s attorney Mac Meade said: ‘This is not a case about racism. This is a case about a man who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, faced with what he perceived as a dangerous condition, dangerous situation.

‘His entire family, his wife and his three young kids under the age of six were all in the car with him. And he did what he felt was necessary to get out of a situation that he felt was dangerous to his family.’ 

The driver of the Ford Expedition, later identified as Lafer, heads straight at the protester, knocking him to the ground before driving over him and leaving the scene

A second protester with a dog can be seen standing just yards away

The driver of the Ford Expedition, later identified as Lafer, heads straight at the protester, knocking him to the ground before driving over him and leaving the scene

Victoria Grace Hewlett, a spokeperson for the New Panthers Initiative which helped organize the protest, said: ‘The driver could have turned left at the intersection, avoided the occupied crosswalk and easily taken another route, but chose to drive their car through a crowd lawfully using a crosswalk.

‘The driver was clearly in no danger and had no right to put other peoples’ lives in danger. After running the individual over, the driver proceeded to speed away showing no regard for the person they injured.’

Hewlett confirmed the victim was left with two broken legs. 



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