• A truck driver accused of speeding into a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis has been released from jail, acquitted of assault charges.
  • Bogdan Vechirko drove an 18-wheeler among a large group of peaceful protesters on the highway in Minneapolis on Sunday. Video shows the truck driving past protesters gathered on the highway shoulder and then coming to a stop just short of hitting some people who stood in front of its path.
  • Minnesota state officials said Vechirko did not intend to harm anyone.
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A 35-year-old truck driver accused of driving aggressively past peaceful protesters on Sunday in Minneapolis was released from jail on Tuesday.

The truck driver, Bogdan Vechirko, was acquitted of assault charges.

On Sunday, Vechirko drove an 18-wheeler past a large group of peaceful protesters on I-35 in Minneapolis. The highway was shutdown, and filled with people demonstrating against the police killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd.

Minneapolis state officials explained during a Monday press conference that, while I-35 was shutdown, they were still in the process of closing off on-ramps to the freeway. Vechirko, whose tanker truck was not carrying anything, drove onto I-35 on accident, he told investigators. (Why red flags were not risen to Vechirko while driving on a completely empty freeway is not clear and was not explained in the Monday press conference.)

According to video footage of the incident, Verchirko appeared to drive past the crowd at speed for a time. People captured by the I-35 traffic camera quickly scattered as the tanker truck approached, with some running into the green on the side of the freeway altogether.

He started to slow down when he approached the protesters and eventually came to a full stop. At that point, he was pulled out of his truck and beat up.

Officials said Vechirko acted foolishly, but that it did not appear that he purposefully tried to hurt anyone.

Those on the scene dispute public officials. ProtesterDrew Valle told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Vechirko showed "a callous disregard for someone's humanity."

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