VISALIA, California (KSEE/KGPE) — No charges will be filed in an incident in May involving a Jeep and protesters at a George Floyd demonstration, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said.
In a YouTube video, Police Chief Jason Salazar said following the incident on May 30 involving the Jeep striking protesters, both the Jeep driver and the protesters reported the incident to police.
The incident occurred near the intersection of Mooney Boulevard and Caldwell Avenue.
There was an altercation between a large group of protestors and the driver and passengers of the Jeep approaching the intersection, Ward said. According to the information contained in the investigative reports, the vehicle was being operated lawfully upon a public roadway and was sitting in traffic facing southbound on Mooney Boulevard.
Ward said multiple protestors entered the roadway on foot intentionally blocking the path of the Jeep. The vehicle was then prevented from moving forward in any manner without coming into contact with protestors, Ward added.
One of the protestors who blocked the path of the vehicle is seen on the video throwing a bottle directly at the front of the vehicle before she crosses out of the traffic lane, Ward said.
As traffic cleared the intersection, the driver of the Jeep began to move the vehicle forward, making contact with an adult female protestor standing near the left front bumper, Ward said. When the protestor refused to move, the driver of the Jeep turned his steering wheel to the left and moved the vehicle forward again. As he did so, a second protestor crossed the roadway directly in front of the Jeep.
Following the incident, the driver immediately drove to the Visalia Police Department and reported the incident to authorities, Ward said.
Ward said there were no witness statements indicating the Jeep drove through the intersection more than one time, and no evidence that either protestor was literally “run over” as Ward says was circulating on social media.
In order to prove that a crime was committed by the driver, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver did not act out of necessity or in self-defense, or defense of others, when he acted. Based upon a thorough review of the video evidence in this case and interviews with the parties involved, no charges can be filed.District Attorney Tim Ward