Driver Who Plowed Into Protesters in Minneapolis Is Charged With Murder

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U.S.|Driver Who Plowed Into Protesters successful Minneapolis Is Charged With Murder

Nicholas Kraus of St. Paul, Minn., was drunk astatine the clip of the crash, the authorities said. Deona Marie Erickson, 31, a societal justness advocate, was killed successful the episode.

A memorial for Deona Marie Erickson successful  Minneapolis connected  Monday, the time  aft  she was killed by a conveyance  whose operator  plowed into a crowd.
Credit...Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune, via Associated Press

Neil Vigdor

June 16, 2021

The drunken operator who plowed a sport-utility conveyance into a assemblage of protesters successful Minneapolis connected Sunday night, sidesplitting a pistillate and injuring respective different people, was charged connected Wednesday with intentional second-degree murder, the authorities said.

The demonstrators had been protesting the decease of Winston Smith, a Black antheral who was changeable by members of a national instrumentality enforcement task unit this month, when, officials said, the driver, Nicholas Kraus, barreled into them successful a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Mr. Kraus, 35, of St. Paul, Minn., was intoxicated astatine the clip and had been driving with a suspended license, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, which said that helium had been convicted respective times of driving nether the power of alcohol.

The protesters pulled Mr. Kraus from the vehicle, and immoderate of them began to onslaught him, the Minneapolis Police Department said.

Michael O. Freeman, the Hennepin County attorney, said astatine a news conference connected Wednesday that determination was wide grounds that Mr. Kraus had intentionally driven into the crowd.

“He said helium saw the cars and the barricades and the people,” Mr. Freeman said. “And astatine that constituent successful time, helium intentionally accelerated and went close astatine them. He said afterwards that helium mightiness person deed a idiosyncratic oregon 2 portion helium was driving his vehicle.”

The authorities said Mr. Kraus told investigators that helium wanted to get implicit the barricade. They said determination was nary denotation that helium was motivated by authorities oregon antipathy toward the protesters.

The onslaught connected protesters has exacerbated the unrest successful Minneapolis, which began past twelvemonth aft the sidesplitting of George Floyd portion successful constabulary custody and continued this twelvemonth with the proceedings of the erstwhile constabulary serviceman Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering Mr. Floyd.

It was not instantly wide if Mr. Kraus, who is scheduled to look successful tribunal connected Thursday, had a lawyer. He was besides charged with 2 counts of second-degree battle with a unsafe weapon, according to a transgression complaint.

The pistillate who was killed successful the occurrence was identified connected Wednesday by the Hennepin County aesculapian examiner arsenic Deona Marie Erickson, 31. She besides went by the sanction Deona Marie Knajdek and was known for her societal justness activism.

She had 2 children and was a programme manager for the Cottages Group, a residential services supplier for susceptible adults successful the Twin Cities area.

“She was 1 of the astir selfless radical we person had the pleasance of knowing, she earned the respect and spot of those she served due to the fact that of her existent compassion for her work,” her leader said successful a Facebook post connected Monday.

Ms. Erickson’s relatives told section media outlets that she would person turned 32 this week and was drawn to the origin of societal justice.

“I knew that she was going to usage her dependable for this,” Deb Kenney, Ms. Erickson’s mother, told the tv presumption WCCO. “And I’m arrogant of her for doing so.”

The episode, which occurred astatine conscionable earlier 11:40 p.m. Sunday astatine West Lake Street and Girard Avenue South, spurred outrage among the assemblage of people, who had gathered to protestation constabulary brutality and commemorate the decease of Mr. Smith. He was fatally changeable by members of a fugitive task unit who had been trying to apprehension him.

“I’ve ne'er seen thing that horrendous,” Zachery James, 28, said from the scene, wherever respective of the assemblage were inactive gathered hours later.

Mr. James said the protesters had blockaded an country of the road, utilizing their ain cars, and that helium and astir 40 to 50 radical had been “occupying peacefully” erstwhile helium archetypal heard a conveyance driving toward the radical astatine precocious speed. He said it smashed into 1 of the protesters’ parked cars, which deed a woman, sending her flying respective yards into a pole.

Mr. James described Ms. Erickson arsenic “an uplifting, kind, beauteous spirit” who was ever funny and considerate toward others. He said she had precocious joined the Black Lives Matter question successful Minneapolis.

“She was conscionable present for america and with us,” helium said. “I watched her assemblage fly.”

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