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No charges: Truck driver who drove through Tallahassee protest will not face charges

Posted at 4:08 PM, Jun 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 17:02:46-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - State Attorney Jack Campbell says charges will not be filed against the driver who was seen in a viral video driving through a Tallahassee protest on May 30.

After reviewing footage widely posted to social media following the incident on May 30, Campbell said that the state attorney's office will not be filing charges against the driver in a letter in a letter penned to Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell.

[WATCH: Videos referenced in State Attorney Jack Campbell's letter can be seen here]

At the time of the incident, Campbell said that there were no traffic control devices in place.

"Although the Tallahassee Police Department offered to assist protest organizers by blocking off a safe area for the event, these protesters chose not to utilize that service," the state attorney wrote. "Consequently, there were no traffic control devices or other safety measures in place at the time of the incident."

Going through a timeline of the events, he said protesters were in the road when the truck drove up on North Monroe Street and stopped at the light on Park Avenue.

When the light turned green, Campbell said the driver couldn't go forward and, "facing a large crowd, [the driver] admitted to revving his motor in an attempt to get the crowd to move so he could proceed."

That's when Campbell said several protesters surrounded the truck and began banging on it, throwing objects and shouting. While one person reported hearing the driver say a racially derogatory term toward the crowd, Campbell said no other witnesses or videos corroborated this account.

"On a video, a protester can be seen approaching the passenger side of the truck," Campbell wrote. "Per the occupants of the truck, the man approached and threatened to punch [the passenger], and [the passenger] responded that if he did so, [the passenger] would hit him back."

That's when Campbell said video showed the protester punching the passenger multiple times through the open window as the passenger raises his arm in a "defensive posture."

"[The driver] then revs the engine again and then proceeds forward through the crowd, the truck having contact with multiple people, at least two of whom were injured," Campbell wrote.

"So the ultimate question is, would a reasonably prudent person, when faced with a crowd shouting at them, throwing things at them, and blocking their progress and punching their passenger, feel threatened with bodily harm?" Campbell wrote in the letter.

Additionally, Campbell said a witness who identified himself as being the man on the hood of the truck also stated that he didn't believe the driver was intentionally trying to hit him.

Based on the evidence, Campbell said his office determined that the driver was reasonable in his fear for his safety and therefore used reasonable force to defend himself and the occupants inside his vehicle.

"In assessing whether the force [the driver] used was reasonable, there is no evidence that [the driver] specifically aimed the truck at persons or intended to harm anyone," Campbell wrote. "To the contrary, he navigated the crowd in such a way that very few minor injuries were sustained."

This is a developing story. Stay with us for updates.