A petition is calling for the Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison to prosecute protesters for interfering with commerce. The petition calls on Ellison to enforce the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S. Code § 1951.
The petition was created in response to calls for truck driver Bogdan Vechirko’s prosecution.
As many will remember, on Sunday, May 31, Vechirko’s truck encountered protesters on the Interstate 35 West Bridge in Minneapolis.
Vechirko’s truck was soon surrounded by protesters and he was pulled from the cab. He suffered cuts to his face and had his wallet and phone stolen. He was protected from some protesters by other protesters and was taken into police custody without serious injury on suspicion of assault. He was later released without charges as authorities continue to investigate.
The highway was scheduled to be barricaded and closed off to traffic; however, it wasn’t — allowing multiple vehicles, including Vechriko’s truck, to enter the road way and putting protesters in danger.
Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said “He was on I-94 already and he turned onto 35 before we got barricades or trucks there to block of his access to 35 … We don’t have any information that makes this seem like this was an intentional act. It wasn’t that he went around the barricades to get to the protest.”
Vechriko was released and the incident is still being investigated. The protesters who beat Vechriko won’t face any charges, said prosecutors.
The Change.org petition to prosecute the protesters states, “The protestors knew that by blocking the interstate without it being barricaded and blocked off that they were at risk of being run over by vehicles, yet they proceeded anyway. This is where the Implied assumption of risk occurred by the protestors.
“Mr. Vechirko was simply doing his job like every professional truck driver out there and he does not deserve to have charges brought against him. The fact that he refuses to press charges against those protestors that robbed and assaulted him speaks volumes about his character. Why punish an innocent man for just doing his job?”
The Hobbs Act sates, in part, “Whoever in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce, by robbery or extortion or attempts or conspires so to do, or commits or threatens physical violence to any person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to do anything in violation of this section shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”
To date, the petition has 887 of the 1,000 desired signatures.
You can read more about the protests here. https://cdllife.com/?s=protest