Backers of New Petitions Supporting Minneapolis Trucker Have A Lot of Catching Up To Do
Minneapolis, MN – Supporters of the Minnesota trucker who unintentionally drove his semi-tanker into a crowd of protesters along the Interstate 35 bridge in Minneapolis have launched petitions of their own demanding he not face criminal charges.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) first reported last week that a Change.org petition was launched by those who want to see 35-year-old Bogdan Vechirko prosecuted for his actions in the incident.
It quickly gained 5,000 signatures.
Then, on Monday, TNN was again first to report a second petition demanding Minnesota authorities “charge and convict” Vechirko was begun last week as well.
As of Wednesday, these petitions have collected more than 40,000 signatures.
The political pressure continues to ramp up on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman by groups such as Black Lives Matter and others.
Freeman has said that though Vechirko was released without charges, the investigation is continuing and charges could still be brought in the matter.
Meanwhile, supporters of Vechirko have recently launched petitions in support of the owner operator.
One such petition was launched by Natalia Shchur who tells TNN Vechirko’s only crime was being at the “wrong place at the wrong time.”
“His life and the lives of his family are in jeopardy because people are jumping to conclusions rather than researching the situation,” Shchur said. “The entire world is against him for something he didn’t even intend doing.”
Shchur, who is from Russia and moved to the United States when she was 18-years-old, says she works in the trucking industry managing a fleet of 70 trucks.
She has been frustrated with the media’s reporting on the bizarre event claiming that “people are misinformed.”
“For people who are not in trucking it is hard to understand how one operates,” she explained. “You cannot do emergency braking. His trailer would jackknife and tip over causing multiple casualties.”
She also argues that if Vechirko had wanted to leave a path of carnage, he certainly could have.
“People who say he wanted to run them over, well, if he wanted some of those people would have died or been injured. He did his best to avoid that and avoid hitting people with his truck. I am sure he was scared for his life and not really sure what to do next.”
Also angering Shchur has been the response of many of the protesters who she says have been acting “crazy.”
Vechirko’s wife, Liudmila, has reportedly received death threats after those who stole the trucker’s phone and wallet at the scene posted his phone number and address online.
One post, which Shchur referred to, stated “justice will be served.”
Though Shchur says she has never met or spoken to Vechirko or his wife, this whole ordeal has become personal to her and her boyfriend, who is Ukrainian, like Vechirko.
“I felt this whole thing as if this happened to our family,” she said.
So far, her petition demanding Vechirko not face criminal charges has only garnered approximately 1,400 signatures.
“I want him and his family, as well as Minnesota officials, to see that people stand behind him! We will fight for him ’til the end!”
Click HERE to read and/or sign Shchur’s petition.
Second Petition Demands Enforcement of the Hobbs Act
A second petition was also launched this week in support of Vechirko.
Trucker and grassroots trucking activist Charles Claburn authored the petition which demands U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr enforce the Hobbs Act and charge those who were on the highway with violations.
The Hobbs Act makes a crime punishable by a fine or imprisonment of not more than twenty years, or both:
Whoever in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce, by robbery or extortion or attempts or conspires so to do, or commits or threatens physical violence to any person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to do anything in violation of this section…
Claburn tells TNN he started the petition to “fight fire with fire.”
So far, it has fewer than 500 signatures.
Click HERE to read and/or sign.