Driver Who Plowed Into Minneapolis Protesters Won’t Be Charged

The guy in the driver's seat won't be charged. Image: KSTP.com
Jeffrey Rice, 40, drove into a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis in November, injuring a 16-year-old girl. He will not be charged with a felony. Image: KSTP.com

Hennepin County prosecutors will not charge the driver who plowed into a Minneapolis street protest late last year, injuring a 16-year-old girl.

Widely circulated footage shows Jeffrey Patrick Rice of St. Paul on November 25 driving into a crowd protesting the failure to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown. Rice, 40, told police the crowd had damaged his car and he was attempting to flee the scene. Police reports originally referred to Rice as the “victim.” The girl in the video suffered minor injuries, according to reports.

“After reviewing all of the facts from the police investigation, prosecutors determined that the actions Mr. Rice took did not reflect intent or actions that constitute a crime that could be charged,” the Hennepin County Attorney’s office said in a statement released last week.

The statement, naturally, refers to the ordeal as an “accident.” Because Rice stopped a mile away and notified police, prosecutors say he was not in violation of the state’s hit-and-run statute. They completely sidestep the fact that Rice was recorded intentionally driving his car into a crowd, which could potentially constitute assault with a deadly weapon.

The statement does say the door remains open for Minneapolis city officials to charge Rice with a misdemeanor.

29 thoughts on Driver Who Plowed Into Minneapolis Protesters Won’t Be Charged

  1. He drove into a crowd. On video. And hit a teenager. Also on video. How is this not assault with a deadly weapon? It certainly wasn’t an ‘accident’, no one forced him to drive into the crowd.

  2. How can anybody with a straight face think that what the driver did was an “accident?” Did they suddenly think the gas pedal was now the brake pedal, and continue thinking that as they drove along with someone on the hood and under their wheels?

  3. Really, would you still be saying that after one of the windows was breached and they started beating on someone who is no trapped in their car with no way to escape the beating?

  4. If they feared for their life when surrounded by an angry crowd then the behavior, while intentional, is understandable. You are allowed to use violence to defend yourself.

  5. The second time he did it was certainly justified. He was surrounded by a violent mob who appeared intent on doing him harm.

    The first time is more nuanced, but I can see that being surrounded by an angry mob could be scary and the driver that may have induced a panic attack.

    I don’t think that driver wanted to be in that situation nor did he intend the outcome. And the mob must take the share of the blame for what resulted from their “protest”.

  6. Perhaps some people should start “accidentally” running over these prosecutors who are derelict in their duty. Nobody would be charged for that, right? Running over a public prosecutor in his driveway would be an “honest accident”, right? According to the prosecutors, anyway… do these prosecutors ever use their brains?

  7. At that point, the assailant in the car had committed assault with a deadly weapon. He was trying to flee the scene. It was correct to smash his car windows and drag him out of the car; unfortunately it seems that this was not possible.

  8. He deliberately went around another vehicle that was waiting to be directed by police around the protesters and plowed into the protesters. There is no excuse, he had malicious intent because he wasn’t patient.

  9. How about, he was an innocent driver surrounded by thugs, feared for his life and wanted to get away from danger. Perhaps he drove around a car to try to get by, not knowing what the tie up was. Then found himself surrounded by angry people. “Flight” instinct kicked in. Then he stopped after he was in a safe place a mile away and called police. Calling police is not the action of someone who intended to harm others. Maybe protesters shouldn’t intimidate people. Just sayin’.

  10. “thugs” – I think that says everything we need to know about your opinion about the subject matter.

  11. Without being on the ground, it’s hard to say. We’re not talking about a regular road accident here. This was a protest which specifically involved people illegally standing in a highway and stopping traffic. That is an inherently dangerous thing to do.

    Luckily these types of protests have fizzled out but for a while they were taking place in several cities, and I was surprised there were not more incidents like this. People blocking major highways and freeways is an insanely stupid and dangerous thing to do.

    We can’t know how scared this driver became seeing a mob of angry young black males blocking his path, but it’s very likely that was a factor.

    And I suspect the authorities made the decision they did based on the illegal and dangerous behavior of these protesters.

  12. That’s a strong word to use. But there can be little doubt that a significant proportion of the law-abiding public might feel scared when confronted with a mob of mostly young black males who clearly were angry and were already breaking the law by trying to stop traffic.

    I for one am are not willing to sit in judgement of someone who was driven into fear and panic by such stupid, dangerous and inconsiderate behavior.

  13. Two wrongs don’t make a right. But the first wrong was walking out in front of traffic hoping all the vehicles would stop.

  14. Interesting position when it’s two white (or at least caucasian looking) females being hit by the car.

    Would it be acceptable to drive in to the crowd if it were mostly young WHITE males? What about older ASIAN females? Where is the line?

  15. Lee, I wasn’t setting rules for behavior nor justifying racial biases. I was suggesting that young black males in particular often invoke anxiety and fear in the general populace because they are perceived as being more likely to engage in violent crime.

    There was a survey reported here a few months ago which showed that drivers were less likely to yield to black males than white males, and the inference was that it was based on a perception that stopping near a group of black males might be riskier.

  16. People that surround your car, push on it, yell at you are what, angels? Act like a thug, get called a thug. End of story.

  17. You can drive you car into any crowd to escape danger and a direct threat. You’re all about race, as if the driver had time to make a conscious decision to run over people because of their skin pigmentation. when he probably was shitting his pants. Give up the race angle and look at the facts

  18. He started driving through the crowd before they surrounded him. They surrounded and started beating the car when he ran over someone and that person was trapped under the car. Before that, he was just trying to push people out of the way with his car… as if that’s acceptable.

  19. He wasn’t in danger – the crowd wasn’t bothering him – until he ran someone over. Watch the video.

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