A former Howard County Jail correctional officer who was accused of driving into a group of peaceful protestors during a local Black Lives Matter rally in May 2020 has now been sentenced to 6 months supervised probation for her role in the incident.
Christa Redman, 34, was originally arrested on charges of criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon, a Level 6 felony, and misdemeanor charges of leaving the scene of an accident and disorderly conduct, according to court records.
But per terms of a plea agreement filed last month in Howard Circuit Court, Redman was sentenced Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and reckless driving, while all other counts in the case were dismissed.
During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, Redman testified that the past two years has been difficult on her, adding that she had to resign from her position at the HCJ as a direct result of the investigation against her, and she has also received numerous threats by people in the community.
Redman added that she also feels remorse over what happened the day the incident occurred, and she understood the gravity of the nature of the charges against her.
Redman’s charges stem from an incident that occurred around 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, 2020, as a group of protesters — formed in response to the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd — were walking across Washington Street and toward Foster Park after marching through the streets of downtown Kokomo.
According to eyewitness accounts, and a video posted on social media, Redman was driving a silver truck and heading southbound on Washington Street before the crash occurred.
While the group was walking across the street — and traffic was stopped — Redman then crossed the center line, bypassed the stopped vehicles in front of her and entered the intersection of Superior and Washington streets — where the crowd was — before fleeing the scene, witnesses told police.
Court records did indicate that Redman honked the horn at protesters before the incident occurred.
Officers later located Redman at her southside residence a few blocks away, initial reports indicated.
And during her conversation with authorities, court records noted that Redman stated that the protesters were “yelling and screaming at her and her children in the truck.”
Redman also stated that she was “scared for her and her young children’s well-being and quickly pulled away and left,” per court documents.
The incident injured Kokomo resident Deza’Rae Bender, who sustained an injury to her arm and hand, authorities note.
According to court documents, Bender reportedly received those injuries after she grabbed onto the passenger side window of the truck as she was falling to the ground.
A 17-year-old female also told police that she was struck by Redman’s vehicle, and authorities stated that she appeared to suffer an injury to her knee.
But whether Bender and the juvenile were actually struck at all was a source of contention during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, with the defense arguing that Redman did not hit anyone.
Instead, according to the defense, it was Bender herself that caused her own injuries as she reached for the window.
Earlier this year, Bender filed a civil complaint against Redman in Howard Superior Court 2, stating that Redman’s “extreme and outrageous conduct” on the day of the incident reportedly caused economic and noneconomic harms, including physical injuries and emotional distress.
Bender is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as costs and attorney fees, pre- and post-judgement interest and is demanding a jury trial.
And now that the criminal case against Redman is finalized, court officials expect that civil lawsuit to be able to move forward.