After legislators passed a common-sense anti-rioting bill on Wednesday, cornered motorists who run over violent protesters or rioters on roads and highways if they feel threatened are now protected from civil and criminal liability.
Over the past few years, protesters from Black Lives Matter and other leftist movements have taken to highways, bridges, and roads around the country to obstruct traffic and threaten drivers.
For both rioters and innocent citizens trying to move through, some of these incidents have been dangerous or even fatal.
Consider the following examples of average people going about their daily lives over the past year:
Driver attacked after driving through protest crowd in Hollywood, the video below:
Watch it here: ABC7/Youtube
People who thought their lives were being threatened have driven through mobs in some cases around the world, acting on instinct to defend themselves. Any of those individuals were later charged with criminal offenses.
Last June, two rioters were killed when a group of BLM demonstrators tried to block a highway overpass in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After a crowd threatened him and his colleagues, the driver of a truck with a horse trailer pressed the gas pedal.
A truck drives through a crowd of protesters in Tulsa
Watch it here: TuslaWorld/Youtube
Pickup Truck with Trailer Rams Through Tulsa Black Lives Matter Protest
Watch it here: Storyful Rights Management/Youtube
According to KTUL-TV, one woman was injured while riding a bike, and a man fell from the overpass, possibly to avoid being run over. The man was crippled as a result of the fall, and the city’s leftists demanded that he be released.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler not only declined to press charges against the driver, but he also ordered an investigation into those who were blocking the interstate, according to KTUL-TV.
“The operator of the family truck and horse trailer, as well as the occupants (two school-aged children), were the victims of a violent and unprovoked assault by several individuals who unnecessarily exacerbated an already dangerous situation by obstructing an interstate highway,” Kunzweiler concluded.
“Despite the fact that this was a peaceful demonstration, the targeting and assault on this family was anything but peaceful. The DA said, “Crimes were committed against this family, and those responsible should be kept accountable.” Through his decision, Kunzweiler exemplified common sense, and lawmakers in Oklahoma City have now made his argument the rule of the land.
House Bill 1674, which was signed into law by GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday, protects divers from liability if they injure or kill a rioter while fleeing similar circumstances that they believe put their lives in danger.
The law specifies that “a motor vehicle operator who accidentally causes injury or death to a person shall not be criminally or civilly responsible for the injury or death if… the injury or death of the individual occurred while the motor vehicle operator was fleeing a riot.”
Blocking roads is also illegal under the constitution.
“Any person who knowingly and willfully obstructs the normal use of any public street, highway, or road within this state by impeding, hindering, or restraining motor vehicle traffic or passage thereon, by standing or approaching motor vehicles thereon, or by endangering the safe movement of motor vehicles or pedestrians traveling thereon shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor,” according to the law.
This offense is punishable by “either a period of incarceration in the county jail for not more than one (1) year, or a fine of not less than [$100.00] and not more than [$5,000.00], or both such fine and imprisonment.”
The legislation also states that rioters who damage vehicles on the road will be held directly responsible for any damage to private property if they are arrested.
The anti-riot bill signed by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is identical to one signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week.
Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, reports of drivers being assaulted or held hostage by violent crowds have gone viral on social media in major cities around the world.
This is common sense. Republican governors like DeSantis and Stitt are finally taking action on the topic, while still reminding adults of what they should have learned long ago: don’t play in the street.