A Tennessee man accused of hitting a Black Lives Matter protester with his car in 2020 has had his case dismissed.
A Grand Jury issued a “No True Bill” finding in the case of Bakersville, N.C. resident Jared Lafer, 27, who ran into protester Johnathan Bowers on Sept. 27 in Johnson City, Tenn. Bowers suffered two broken legs, a concussion and bleeding on the brain in the incident.
A No True Bill means that no charges were filed against Lafer, said his attorney, Mac Meade, because the panel did not find enough probable cause to send the case forward.
“I just want to thank God and everybody else who supported me,” Lafer told News Channel 11 in Johnson City. “I knew from day one that I was not guilty, and it took the grand jury — 12 people — to prove that as well.”
Meade said expungement paperwork was filed on Sept. 27, which will allow Lafer to state that he has never been charged with nor convicted of a crime.
The protest at which Bowers was injured followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the media frenzy that followed. Lafer turned himself in to police, and a charge of aggravated assault was reduced to a reckless aggravated assault in May of 2021.
Bowers claimed he was not a protester, but was taking pictures of the protest. Lafer was making a turn in his car after leaving a nearby restaurant and bumped Bowers, who then struck the SUV’s hood with his fist to get Lafer’s attention.
Bowers said Lafer then gunned the vehicle’s engine, causing Bowers to be run over suffer a broken right ankle and broken left knee.