Will the city seek justice?

3rdPrecinct3BY ED FELIEN

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has declined to prosecute Jeffrey Rice for driving his car into a crowd of demonstrators in front of the Third Precinct station on Nov. 25.  They told Southside Pride: “After reviewing all of the facts from the police investigation, prosecutors determined that the actions Mr. Rice took did not reflect intent or actions that constitute a crime that could be charged, specifically under Minnesota Statute 169.09.“
But Statute 169.09 has to do with failure to stop at the scene of an accident.  Most of the people at the demonstration and the clear evidence from widely viewed videos of the incident show that Jeffrey Rice deliberately chose to not follow the flow of traffic around the demonstrators and instead drove straight into the crowd.  Why was he not charged with aggravated assault?
A number of participants in the demonstration called the County Attorney’s Office to offer testimony in this incident.  They were never contacted.  Carol Overland, an attorney from Red Wing, has said, “The video is clear, and shows the choice by Rice to go around the car in front of him directly into the crowd.  There’s no excuse for this to drag on so long without criminal charges of any sort.”
I sent the following letter to Council Member Blong Yang:
“Dear Blong Yang, chair of The Public Safety, Civil Rights & Emergency Management Committee:
“As you no doubt know, the county attorney has refused to indict Jeffrey Rice for deliberately driving his car into a crowd of demonstrators at the Nov. 25 demonstration in front of the Third Precinct station at Lake and Minnehaha.
According to the media spokesperson for the county attorney, the only charge considered was leaving the scene of an accident.  The county attorney did not consider the more reasonable charge of aggravated assault even though the evidence http://www.startribune.com/video/283893441.html and eye witness testimony clearly indicates Jeffrey Rice chose not to follow other cars around the demonstration but deliberately chose to drive his car directly into the crowd.
“The city attorney reports to your committee, The Public Safety, Civil Rights & and Emergency Management Committee. Would you please ask the city attorney if she is considering charging Jeffrey Rice with assault in the fifth degree:  ‘609.224, Subdivision 1.Misdemeanor. Whoever does any of the following commits an assault and is guilty of a misdemeanor: (1) commits an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or (2) intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another.’ ”
On Wednesday, Feb. 25, we received this email from Sean Broom, council associate to Council Member Blong Yang:
“I wanted to thank you for contacting Council Member Yang’s office about this matter.  We have contacted the city attorney about this situation and they are considering what charges, if any, should be filed.  We hope to hear something soon.”
We all hope to hear something very soon.

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