What to Know
- Protests erupted in late October in Philadelphia and elsewhere, including NYC, over the police shooting death of a Black man after a domestic dispute call
- Nearly three dozen NYC arrests were made at the time; now a 26-year-old Long Island woman faces assault and other charges for allegedly bumping two cops with her car and refusing to obey stop commands
- Several videos show the driver clearly telling officers "I'm just trying to go home" before cops let her close the door; seconds later, officers are seen using batons to smash the windows and she drives through them
A 26-year-old Suffolk County woman has been arrested on assault, reckless endangerment and other charges for allegedly bumping two NYPD officers with her car during New York City protests over the deadly police shooting of a Black man in Philadelphia this past October, the NYPD said Thursday.
Samantha Leach, of Centereach, is also accused of attempted assault, obstructing governmental administration, attempted unlawful fleeing of a police officer in a motor vehicle and reckless driving in the late-night Oct. 27 fracas in Brooklyn.
It wasn't immediately clear early Thursday afternoon if she had retained an attorney.
According to the NYPD, two uniformed officers were conducting crowd control near Smith Street and Atlantic Avenue shortly before 10 p.m. that night when Leach allegedly drove up to them in a 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis four-door sedan.
The officers told Leach to stop the vehicle for the safety of other officers and civilians on the roadway at the time and she allegedly refused to do so. Leach allegedly bumped the two officers as she tried to leave the scene, causing pain and swelling to one cop's left side and lacerating the right wrist of the other.
Several videos posted on social media show the driver clearly telling officers "I'm just trying to go home" before cops let her close the door and drive away. Seconds later, officers are seen using batons to smash the car's windows and that's when the driver drove through them. Both cops were treated at a hospital for their injuries.
Nearly 40 commercial properties and nine NYPD vehicles were damaged by vandals over the course of the same night, NYPD officials said, with the damage including broken store windows and small fires set. Five department members suffered minor injuries, mostly while arresting people during the protests. Police said that 32 people were arrested and five summonses were issued throughout the evening. The most serious charges included assaulting a police officer, obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct and graffiti-related activities.
The unrest in the city stemmed from the shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. in West Philadelphia a day earlier. Police responded to a call about an armed man during a domestic dispute, and officers could be heard on video telling Wallace to put the knife down before they opened fire.
Wallace's family said they told officers the 27-year-old had a history of mental health problems and did not have to shoot. Both Wallace's father and cousin denounced violence and looting that erupted in Philadelphia and elsewhere.
While the family said they believed the city of Philadelphia failed them, an attorney said on their behalf last year they didn't want to see the cops charged with murder.