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Driver Who Rammed Minneapolis Protestors Charged With Traffic Offenses

12:23 PM EDT on March 25, 2015

A teenage girl was injured when St. Paul resident Jeffrey Rice drove into a November street protest. Image: KSTP.com
A teenage girl was injured when St. Paul resident Jeffrey Rice drove into a November street protest. Image: KSTP.com
A teenage girl was injured when St. Paul resident Jeffrey Rice drove into a November street protest. Image: KSTP.com

The motorist who drove through a Minneapolis street protest last November, injuring a teenage girl, was charged with misdemeanor traffic offenses.

According to the Star Tribune, Hennepin County officials brought three charges against 40-year-old Jeffrey P. Rice, of St. Paul, four months after he drove his Subaru directly into protestors following the grand jury decision in the Darren Wilson-Michael Brown shooting case.

Rice was charged with:

    • Reckless or careless driving, based on “willful of wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”
    • Careless driving, based on a “disregard of the rights of others, or in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger any property of any person.”
    • Failure to avoid colliding with a pedestrian, based on the lack of “due care"

The Star Tribune reports that, according to the criminal complaint, "Rice admitted to police that he saw the people in the street before he went ahead and 'drove through them.'” But the Hennepin County prosecutor declined to file felony charges in February, describing the crash as an "accident" and saying "the actions Mr. Rice took did not reflect intent or actions that constitute a crime that could be charged."

If convicted, the Star Tribune says, Rice is unlikely to get a jail sentence:

Upon conviction, each charge calls for punishment of 0 to 90 days in jail and a fine ranging from $0 to $1,000. Misdemeanor offenses such as these rarely lead to incarceration.

Authorities initially referred to Rice as the "victim" in police reports.

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