More Protests Force Shutdowns of U.S. Interstates, 1 Protester Killed by Motorist
Seattle, WA; Philadelphia, PA – The holiday weekend saw multiple highway protests with one in Seattle, WA resulting in a protester’s death and another seriously injured.
Protesters in Seattle over the weekend once again used a stretch of Interstate 5 to voice their concerns over police brutality and racial inequality.
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) closed a portion of I-5 for protests on Friday night into early Saturday morning.
However, Dawit Kelete of Seattle drove his white Jaguar XJL around the vehicle barriers and sped through the crowd striking two people.
Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle, was fatally injured while another protester was seriously hurt.
Here are two pictures of the suspect vehicle that struck two protesters on I-5 this morning. Investigation into motive and point of entry in to I-5 are still under investigation. pic.twitter.com/gU1QH6TFTu
— Trooper Rick Johnson (@wspd2pio) July 4, 2020
Investigators have not yet indicated a possible motive for why Kelete drove into the protesters, but say impairment is not believed to have contributed.
Kelete has been charged with two counts of vehicular assault.
According to WSP Captain Ron Mead, a stretch of I-5 had been closed for protests 19 days in a row.
In an early morning press conference, Mead urged protesters to avoid the interstate saying it’s “simply not a safe place.”
Meanwhile, in Philadelphia…
In Philadelphia on Sunday, a portion of I-676 in Center City was shut down as protesters marched onto the highway.
The protest began at City Hall before police quickly shut down the highway between I-76 and I-95 as protesters took to the interstate.
Philadelphia asserted the right to protest racism, police brutality and the war on Black America in force today, rallying at City Hall before pushing past road blocks to assert our right to march down I-676. pic.twitter.com/Oi3vhGZ0Sa
— Party for Socialism and Liberation (@pslweb) July 5, 2020
Protesters were demanding Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw resign after law enforcement officials used tear gas to disperse a group of protesters along the same interstate on June 1.
Kenney later apologized for law enforcement’s use of force.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported in Sunday’s demonstration, but traffic backups were reported by officials.
No End in Sight
Despite multiple federal laws making it a crime to obstruct interstates and interstate commerce, police did not report any arrests of protesters in these latest demonstrations.
There is a growing frustration in the trucking community about the lack of arrests and prosecutions for such offenses.
Truckers have been particularly vocal about it on social media, while trucking’s largest associations have remained quiet.
As Transportation Nation Network (TNN) reported last week, and updated again over the weekend, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is coming under increasing pressure to suspend hours of service (HOS) regulations for truckers amid the ongoing social unrest and continued dangers and delays resulting from highway protests in cities across the nation.
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Photo courtesy of Party for Socialism and Liberation/Twitter