Tallahassee civil rights attorney Ben Crump—who’s represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown—has been added to the legal team representing Tampa protester Jae Passmore. Crump is also representing the family of Breonna Taylor.
On Thursday night, Crump posted a video of a driver driving the wrong way on Swann Avenue and hitting Passmore with a truck during a June 21 protest in South Tampa’s Hyde Park Village.
“UNREAL. This Tampa driver purposefully STRUCK a peaceful BLM protestor. Jae suffered a concussion and other injuries!,” Crump wrote on Twitter. Crump also said that the Tampa Police Department knows the identity of the driver of the truck, but added that TPD “refuses to provide it citing an ‘open investigation.’”
Crump then called on “#BlackTwitter detectives,” to help “find the truck driver's identity...”
UNREAL. This Tampa driver purposefully STRUCK a peaceful BLM protestor. Jae suffered a concussion and other injuries! @TampaPD knows the driver's identity but refuses to provide it citing an "open investigation." #BlackTwitter detectives, who can find the truck driver's identity? pic.twitter.com/j1oPnWABRm— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 21, 2020
In the video, Passmore can be heard on a megaphone saying, "I'm ready to die for what I believe in." She then addresses the fact that if a vehicle runs her over then, "that'll be what it is."
TPD has a lot of investigations happening, apparently.
On August 13, CL asked Public Information Officer Jamel Lanee if Major Richard Mills had a meeting with Police Chief Brian Dugan concerning Noah Armstrong, who protesters allege drove his car through a July 4 demonstration on Dale Mabry Highway. CL—citing event numbers affiliated with police reports filed by witnesses to Armstrong driving through the protest—also asked if TPD has charged Armstrong with anything, including reckless driving.
“I checked and those reports are still open. Once they are closed, we can redact and send to you. We can not confirm any meetings as the case remains under investigation,” Lanee told CL. “The case is under investigation and that’s all we can say.”
In an email with CL, Gretchen Cothron, President of the Greater Tampa chapter of the ACLU, confirmed that she’s enlisted Crump’s help in Passmore’s case.
“He's taking the lead and I'm staying on as his co-counsel. Jae is to make an announcement Saturday, but Ben put out a social media post late last night with the video of the truck hitting Jae,” Cothron added.
Passmore is expected to make an announcement on Saturday.
Crump was inspired to become a lawyer when his mom told him the story of NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall, the U.S. Supreme Court’s first African-American justice. Crump told Florida Trend magazine that, “From that day to this one, my objective has been to try to give people who are marginalized and disenfranchised a better shot at the American dream.”
Crump’s role in demanding justice in the 2012 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin—who was walking through a Sanford, Florida gated community with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea when he was killed by George Zimmerman, a overzealous, racist neighborhood crime watch volunteer and child killer—thrust the lawyer into the national spotlight.
“Crump led a campaign to have Zimmerman arrested. Zimmerman later was acquitted on second-degree murder charges, but Crump helped Martin’s family settle with Zimmerman’s homeowners association for more than $1 million,” Florida Trend wrote.
Crump's garnered so much attention for his civil rights work that "#blackAF" creator Kenya Barris is working on a Netflix documentary about him. Nadia Hallgren, who was nominated for an Emmy for her work on the Michelle Obama documentary "Becoming" will direct and co-produce the film about Crump.
This is a developing post.
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