Jury Acquits Protester Accused in Assault on Wisconsin Lawmaker
Kerida O’Reilly, 34, had been accused of attacking State Senator Tim Carpenter at a Black Lives Matter protest, prompting others nearby to attack him.,
A Wisconsin jury on Tuesday found a woman not guilty of charges that she had beaten a state senator who was recording video of protesters at a Black Lives Matter demonstration last year.
The woman, Kerida O’Reilly, 34, of Madison, Wis., was acquitted of felony substantial battery and misdemeanor disorderly conduct in connection with the June 24, 2020, episode, Mx. O’Reilly’s lawyer, Jessa Nicholson Goetz, said on Tuesday night.
“I am extremely relieved to see that once everyone gets into a courtroom, it doesn’t matter if you’re a senator,” Ms. Nicolson Goetz said.
Mx. O’Reilly was accused of attacking State Senator Tim Carpenter, a Democrat who represents areas in Milwaukee, prompting others at a Black Lives Matter protest to attack him.
After the protest, Senator Carpenter posted a 12-second video on Twitter, which showed two women charging toward him.
“Leave my phone alone,” the senator can be heard saying in the video.
“Delete it,” someone replies.
He said last year that he had been punched and kicked in the head, neck and ribs by eight or 10 people. He was treated at a hospital for injuries to his head, neck, nose and ribs.
Senator Carpenter did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday night.
Mx. O’Reilly and a co-defendant, Samantha Hamer, said in court that they were only trying to get Senator Carpenter to stop recording the protests, The Associated Press reported. Senator Carpenter testified that he didn’t believe Mx. O’Reilly had hit him after others approached him, but that he was knocked off balance by Mx. O’Reilly, The A.P. reported.
Ms. Hamer entered a no-contest plea in September to a disorderly conduct civil law violation, which is not a criminal charge, Ms. Nicolson Goetz said.
The attack happened as thousands of people across the country participated in Black Lives Matter protests after the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020.
In an interview last year, Senator Carpenter said he was working at the Wisconsin Capitol on the day of the protest. He got out of his car out of curiosity and ended up recording the demonstration. Senator Carpenter also said he was supportive of peaceful protests and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I tried telling them, ‘Why are you doing this? I am an ally of yours,'” he said last year. “I am gay, I have been in the Legislature for 36 years. That is when the beating kind of slowed down a bit.”