Driver Who Plowed Into Protesters in Minneapolis Is Charged With Murder

The drunken driver who plowed a sport-utility car right into a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis on Sunday night time, killing a girl and injuring a number of different individuals, was charged on Wednesday with intentional second-degree homicide, the authorities stated.

The demonstrators had been protesting the loss of life of Winston Smith, a Black man who was shot by members of a federal legislation enforcement job drive this month, when, officers stated, the driving force, Nicholas Kraus, barreled into them in a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Mr. Kraus, 35, of St. Paul, Minn., was intoxicated on the time and had been driving with a suspended license, in keeping with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, which stated that he had been convicted a number of occasions of driving drunk.

The protesters pulled Mr. Kraus from the car, and a few of them started to strike him, the Minneapolis Police Department stated.

Michael O. Freeman, the Hennepin County legal professional, stated at a news conference on Wednesday that there was clear proof that Mr. Kraus had deliberately pushed into the gang.

“He said he saw the cars and the barricades and the people,” Mr. Freeman stated. “And at that point in time, he intentionally accelerated and went right at them. He said afterwards that he might have hit a person or two while he was driving his vehicle.”

The authorities stated Mr. Kraus informed investigators that he needed to recover from the barricade. They stated there was no indication that he was motivated by politics or antipathy towards the protesters.

The assault on protesters has exacerbated the unrest in Minneapolis, which started final yr after the killing of George Floyd whereas in police custody and continued this yr with the trial of the previous police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering Mr. Floyd.

It was not instantly clear if Mr. Kraus, who’s scheduled to seem in courtroom on Thursday, had a lawyer.

The girl who was killed in the episode was recognized on Wednesday by the Hennepin County health worker as Deona Marie Erickson, 31. She additionally glided by the title Deona Marie Knajdek and was identified for her social justice activism.

She had two kids and was a program supervisor for the Cottages Group, a residential companies supplier for susceptible adults in the Twin Cities space.

“She was one of the most selfless people we have had the pleasure of knowing, she earned the respect and trust of those she served because of her true compassion for her work,” her employer stated in a Facebook post on Monday.

Ms. Erickson’s kin informed native media shops that she would have turned 32 this week and was drawn to the reason for social justice.

“I knew that she was going to use her voice for this,” Deb Kenney, Ms. Erickson’s mom, informed the tv station WCCO. “And I’m proud of her for doing so.”

The episode, which occurred at simply earlier than 11:40 p.m. Sunday at West Lake Street and Girard Avenue South, spurred outrage among the many crowd of individuals, who had gathered to protest police brutality and commemorate the loss of life of Mr. Smith. He was fatally shot by members of a fugitive job drive who had been attempting to arrest him.

“I’ve never seen anything that horrendous,” Zachery James, 28, stated from the scene, the place a number of of the gang had been nonetheless gathered hours later.

Mr. James stated the protesters had blockaded an space of the highway, utilizing their very own automobiles, and that he and about 40 to 50 individuals had been “occupying peacefully” when he first heard a car driving towards the group at excessive velocity. He stated it smashed into one of many protesters’ parked automobiles, which hit a girl, sending her flying a number of yards right into a pole.

Mr. James described Ms. Erickson as “an uplifting, kind, beautiful spirit” who was at all times curious and thoughtful towards others. He stated she had lately joined the Black Lives Matter motion in Minneapolis.

“She was just here for us and with us,” he stated. “I watched her body fly.”

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