N. DAKOTA LEGISLATOR Proposes Bill To PROTECT MOTORISTS If They Hit Pipeline Protesters Intentionally Blocking Roads

(Bismarck Tribune: Will Kincaid)

If this bill is passed, it could be bad news for Black Lives Matter terrorists who have been blocking roads and risking innocent motorists lives since Ferguson was taken hostage in 2015… 

Protesters who take to the streets in North Dakota might want to look both ways for changes in the rules of the road.

A bill sponsored by state Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman, would protect drivers from legal consequences if they inadvertently hit, injure or kill pedestrians who are obstructing traffic.

The legislation is a direct response to the massive protests around the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, Kempenich said. The ongoing protests have shut down a nearby highway for months and stalled construction of a pipeline that would carry crude from the North Dakota oil patch.

“If you stay off the roadway, this would never be an issue,” Kempenich said. “Those motorists are going about the lawful, legal exercise of their right to drive down the road. … Those people didn’t ask to be in this.”

The legislation has drawn withering criticism from Standing Rock supporters, who worry that it could be open season for protesters on North Dakota roads.

block roads

Kempenich said he wants to shift the blame for a crash from drivers to the people who choose to protest in traffic. The legislation, he said, would not protect someone who deliberately tries to run down a protester, and it would not let drivers off the hook if they hit a jaywalker or a child chasing a ball into the street.

“This bill puts the onus on somebody who’s made a conscious decision to put themselves in harm’s way,” he said. “You can protest all you want, but you can’t protest up on a roadway. It’s dangerous for everybody.”Star Tribune

Highways shouldn’t be used as staging areas for protests, Kempenich said. “They’re intentionally putting themselves in danger,” he said, adding that accidents could result.

Blocking roads or highways has also been a tactic adopted on occasion by protesters in other movements, such as Black Lives Matter.

A spokeswoman for the pipeline protests said she is concerned the bill, if passed, would give careless drivers a free pass to kill or maim people who are exercising their free speech rights.

“It is basically giving permission for vehicular homicide, and that is wrong,” said Joye Braun, an organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Nobody has the right to take the life of another person.”

The network is an activist group that opposes the pipeline, which would carry Bakken crude oil across the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Protesters say the pipeline’s path crosses sacred land and could endanger the tribe’s source of drinking water.

Braun said she once was struck by a woman who objected to her video-recording a protest outside a fast-food restaurant in Mandan, and she worries the bill would embolden people to harm pipeline protesters.

“I believe there is a small element who may use this as an excuse to attack people,” Braun said.

The proposal has attracted some national attention. Robert Reich, a former U.S. labor secretary and liberal commentator, has criticized the bill.-Inforum


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