A Hempstead man was arrested Wednesday and charged with falsely reporting an incident after telling Suffolk police officers a driver’s vehicle struck him Monday night in Huntington Station during a Black Lives Matter protest, authorities said.
Keith Harrison, 56, was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon at his home and charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor, police said.
Another protester was struck by the vehicle, described by police as a 2018 Toyota Rav 4, about 6:45 p.m. The driver, Anthony Cambareri, 36, of Coram, was arrested and faces a third-degree assault charge, police said.
Police said Harrison was issued a field appearance ticket and is scheduled to be arraigned in First District Court in Central Islip on July 28.
“Harrison filed a police report, stating he was also struck and was transported to Huntington Hospital. An investigation by Second Squad detectives determined Harrison was not struck,” police said in a statement.
Richard Toscani, Cambareri's Hauppauge-based attorney, said Tuesday that his client denies the charges.
"This was an accident, plain and simple," Toscani said. "Any other allegations are false and unfounded. This office will zealously represent Mr. Cambareri and will investigate these allegations."
Protest organizers said about 30 marchers were in the street on Broadway Monday night when a driver hit the two men before speeding away.
Additional information from witnesses and video led investigators to conclude that the SUV did not strike Harrison and only hit one person.
Jeremiah Bennett, 26, of East Meadow, said he was hit by the SUV.
He told Newsday earlier this week: “[Cambareri's] charges need to be raised to at least a felony.”
A witness said Bennett hit the vehicle’s hood and then rolled off. Police would not comment on whether the SUV struck Bennett.
Organizers of the protest could not be reached immediately for comment.
During a media briefing Tuesday on the coronavirus pandemic, Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said of the case: “Detectives are out and continue to canvas for video and the investigation is ongoing.”