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Driver plows SUV into protestors in Minneapolis killing one

by Mike Creef, Staff Writer

FILE – In this Aug. 12, 2017, file photo, people fly into the air as a vehicle is driven into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. James Alex Fields Jr. Fields, who was sentenced to to life in prison on federal hate crime charges for deliberately driving his car into anti-racism protesters during a white nationalist rally in Virginia, is set to face a state judge on Monday, July 15, 2019, who could add another life sentence, plus 419 years.(Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP, File)

Late Sunday night a driver of an SUV plowed his vehicle past a blocked off intersection and into protestors. The driver struck a parked car then proceeded to hit a woman. The scene was a protest for the shooting of Winston Boogie Smith Jr. by U.S. Marshals earlier this month.

According to the Minneapolis police twitter page at 11:39 the driver drove into protestors on Lake Street and Girard. Three protestors were transported to the hospital by EMS, with one being in very critical condition.

Per NBC News, the police said their preliminary investigation indicated that the use of drugs or alcohol by the driver may have contributed to the crash.

In a post on Facebook Monday morning, Shaun King shared images from a livestream from the scene where protestors pulled the driver from the vehicle and apprehended him until police arrived. 

Minnesota Protest Fatality

A medic embraces activist D.J. Hooker after an SUV struck a parked car and tossed it into demonstrators during a protest in Minneapolis early Monday, June 14, 2021. A woman was killed and three others were injured. “The car went through the air and it hit a young woman,” Hooker told Minnesota Public Radio. (Matt Sepic/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)

A witness said the man driving an SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed and appeared to accelerate as he got closer to demonstrators.

The suspect was pulled from his vehicle by protesters after the crash, was taken into police custody and was being treated for injuries at a hospital, police said on Twitter. Police did not say how the man was hurt or give the extent of his injuries and said the motive was unknown at this time.

This past year, Republican politicians in several states passed bills that would help give protection to drivers who run over protestors from legal consequences. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed HB 1674, dubbed the “hit and run” law, into law back in April of 2021. According to the bill, any driver who claims they felt threatened could avoid prosecution. 

In the future it will become increasingly dangerous for protestors to exercise their first amendment right as more and more Republican politicians adopt similar “hit and run” laws.

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