VIDEO: Queens man charged after SUV drives through protesters in Brooklyn

1010 WINS Newsroom
June 07, 2020 - 12:08 pm
Video shows the SUV driving through protesters

Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – A Queens man was charged Saturday night shortly after police said he drove through a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn—a confrontation that was caught on video.

The video from around 10:30 p.m. shows the black Volkswagen SUV lurching through a crowd of people at Saint John’s Place and Brooklyn Avenue in Crown Heights before accelerating away down the street.

Police said when the SUV driver got to the intersection, protesters were kneeling on the street. In an effort to get around the crowd, police said the driver drove onto the sidewalk, where some protesters struck and climbed onto his vehicle.

Video shows the driver on the sidewalk surrounded by protesters. Police said he struck a 24-year-old bicyclist who was in front of his SUV before driving back onto the street and leaving the scene.

Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein shot the video of the altercation. He told 1010 WINS the driver was concerned about getting to work.

“When we explained to him that there were a large crowd of people behind us and that he just couldn’t get through, he became increasingly agitated, started yelling, threatening to call the cops,” Spitzer-Rubenstein said.

Police said the driver, identified as 44-year-old Jacob Leiper, was stopped a short distance away after protesters pointed out the SUV to police.

Leiper was taken into custody and charged with reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident and unlawful possession of marijuana.

The cyclist suffered an ankle injury and was treated and released from NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County. Police said three other people suffered minor injuries and refused medical attention.

“I think people were mostly just shaken up,” Spitzer-Rubenstein said. “There was no sort of mob of people coming after him.”

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