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Oklahoma passes law exonerating drivers who kill or injure rioters while fleeing scene

The measure says drivers will not be held liable if they flee the scene of a riot and injure or kill individuals if they think it was necessary to protect themselves

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma has passed legislation that offers protections to motorists caught in riots who unintentionally kill or injure rioters. The bill also increases penalties for blocking roadways during demonstrations. 

House Bill (HB) 1674 was signed into law by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday (April 21). 

The measure says drivers will not be held liable if they flee the scene of a riot and injure or kill individuals if they think it was necessary to protect themselves from serious injury or death. The bill also states that the driver must exercise "due care" when the injury or death occurs.  

The bill was crafted following a viral altercation last summer where a pickup truck drove through a crowd protesting the death of George Floyd on a Tulsa interstate. Several people were injured in the crash, including one man paralyzed from the waist down after falling off an overpass.

Protesters threw projectiles, swung signs and damaged the vehicle as it made its way through the crowd. 

The driver, who was traveling with his family, is accused by witnesses at the scene of making an intentional effort to drive through the crowd. He was never charged for the injuries that occurred.

HB1674 also makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,00 fine to block a public street during a demonstration. 

Several GOP-backed states across the country introduced counter protest measures in 2021 in response to the nationwide protest last year. 

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