Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump representing protester struck by truck in hit-and-run

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A vocal Black Lives Matter activist who says Tampa police officers recently reaggravated injuries she suffered when a truck drove into her during a June demonstration is turning to a prominent civil rights attorney for help.

Jae Passmore’s defense attorney confirmed to 8 On Your Side that Attorney Ben Crump, who represents the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, has joined her legal team.

“It was inspiring to see someone who is not from this city could clearly see what is happening and that justice is not being given,” Passmore told 8 On Your Side.

Ten days ago, TPD arrested Passmore after a counter protest confrontation downtown.

“What they did to her was horrendous for what she’s accused of,” her attorney Gretchen Cothron told 8 On Your Side at a rally Saturday evening at Joe Chillura Park.

The accusation from a “Back the Blue” supporter is that Passmore hit him in the back of the head. Video released by Tampa police shows her shove a man in the back.

When officers arrived to make an arrest, police said Passmore fell to the ground and they handcuffed her because she resisted.

Passmore denies that and Cothron said the video shows the officers held her down for nearly 12 minutes before an ambulance arrived.

“I was yelling at them that I had a hip injury to let them know I’m not gonna get up and run or that they didn’t have to be so aggressive,” Passmore told 8 On Your Side.

Passmore suffered a concussion and other injuries when a red truck drove into her during a demonstration in June in Hyde Park.

Attorney Crump shared a video Thursday of the hit and run on Twitter.

“@TampaPD knows the driver’s identity but refused to provide it citing an “open investigation,” Crump tweeted. “#BlackTwitter detectives, who can find the truck driver’s identity?”

Passmore said her first demand of TPD is to “give us the name so we can file a civil suit against him.”

A Tampa police spokesperson told 8 On Your Side “Ms. Passmore has refused to give the department a sworn statement.”

Cothron explained why her client did not sign a sworn statement when she spoke with the lead detective.

“She has not signed the sworn statement because we were afraid that that they were going to turn it around and try to charge her with unlawful assembly or obstructing the road,” Cothron said.

Cothron said they have requested immunity from those misdemeanor charges. She also said Passmore will give a sworn statement to prsoecutors.

The case is being turned over to the State Attorney’s Office for further investigation, a TPD spokesperson said.


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