Kirkwood, MO — Beginning with North Dakota and their reaction to Standing Rock protesters, multiple states, including Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas, have introduced bills which protect drivers who run over protesters. In spite of the fact that none of these bills became law, the notion of running over peaceful protesters has become a rallying cry for those who disagree with their cause.
As the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia illustrated last month, with Heather Heyer's death, people are willing to plow down otherwise peaceful protesters and many are willing to support it—including cops.
During a protest in Kirkwood, Missouri on Wednesday, another person felt the need to plow through peaceful protesters. The entire incident was captured on video by livestream reporter, Rebelutionary_Z.
The protest was to demand justice for Anthony Lamar Smith and to hold his killer accountable. As TFTP reported last year, years after he thought he got away with killing Smith, former St. Louis police officer, Jason Stockley was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death Smith. A verdict in the ominous shooting death is expected this week.
What sets this incident apart from the Charlottesville tragedy is that the man who allegedly drove his SUV through the protest was recorded just minutes prior having a peaceful debate with protesters.
During the talk, the man seemed to want to engage the protesters—going so far as to tell a police officer who attempted to discourage him that he "wanted in on this."
A few minutes later, the same truck, with the same decal over the gas cover, is seen accelerating to a high speed and driving through the line of protesters walking down the street.
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The driver then stops briefly for an unknown reason as people run up to his door to retaliate. Luckily no one was hurt during the entire ordeal.
It is important to note that while the Free Thought Project understands the reason people block roads during protests, we find it counterproductive when it comes to inciting meaningful change. For those who are unaware, protesters block roads — not to gain support — but to show others what it feels like to be in a powerless situation.
A protest is taking place because an injustice has occurred and people are upset that they had no power to stop it or make it right. For example, when a cop kills an innocent person and faces no consequences, this makes people feel powerless and angry, so they block roads to raise awareness to this feeling.
While that idea may seem like a good way of showing others your perspective, it ends up alienating and intimidating entirely random people — people who may already have that perspective. That being said, however, it is an entirely nonviolent act which makes a violent response to it entirely unjust.
So, the man in the video below, who sped through a crowd of protesters was most certainly in the wrong. And, as the video shows, it appeared that he wanted to do this.
As seen in the video, the truck was not surrounded by protesters, nor was he threatened by them in any way. He was multiple car lengths away from the group of protesters before he began honking his horn and plowing through the group.