Petitions Demanding “Charge and Convict” Minneapolis Trucker Grow to 30,000 Supporters
Minneapolis, MN – Newly launched petitions demanding the trucker who authorities say unintentionally drove his semi-tanker into a crowd of protesters on Interstate 35 has grown to 30,000 signatures.
On Sunday, May 31, 35-year-old Bogdan Vechirko was arrested by Minneapolis police following an incident that could have been deadly.
Vechirko was held by authorities for 48 hours on a probable assault charge, but released him on Tuesday, June 2 without filing formal charges pending further investigation.
Upon his release, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said that the investigation was ongoing and charges could still be filed.
Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington also hinted that a possible charge could be forthcoming.
“We are certainly getting to the right charge that holds him accountable,” Harrington said at a press conference last week.
Following his release came an outcry by many who were on the bridge, as well as those in the community, demanding Vechirko face charges.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) first reported last week that a Change.org petition was launched insisting charges be brought against him.
It picked up more than 5,000 signatures in only a few days.
A second petition has now also been launched demanding Minnesota authorities “charge and convict the semi truck driver.”
It has gained nearly 25,000 signatures.
The author writes,
So on May 31st we had a peaceful protest from the US BANK STADIUM to 35W bridge until a white a supremacist came in with his semi gas truck and ploughed [sic] through us. and [sic] no the highway wasn’t open but rather closed for the protest. It was the most traumatic experience of my life and I’ll never forget the ones who helped me when I was in panic. this [sic] could’ve turned into a mass killing but it was a miracle that no one was hurt.
Additionally, the author refers to text messages he claims were discovered on Vechirko’s phone after it was stolen from his truck, that reveal his intent to harm the protesters.
These alleged messages, which were sent in a group text involving Vechirko and three others moments before the incident, have been widely circulated on social media.
Vechirko: My next load is lake st and lyndale 😢
Friend #1: It’s been good knowing ya buddy! Good luck
Vechirko: Nobody else wants to do it
Friend #2: Man, if things go south, I can help your wife get rid of that Harley and the snowmobile… Good luck
Vechirko: I will let the wife know to add you to the list of people who want the motorcycle when I give up the ghost.
Friend #1: If she gets lonely I’m sure Nate is willing to hang out with her when you’re gone 😂 lol
Authorities have yet to confirm if these messages are authentic.
However, the petition’s author asserts these messages prove Vechirko intended to harm the protesters.
The fact that he (Vechirko) planned all this and was seeing through to it was just inhuman and disgusting. we [sic] read his texts from his phone and this was clearly premeditated. what [sic] he did was terrorism and he should be charged for it! if [sic] a black man or a Muslim man did this he would be long gone and convicted and the media would blast him as a terrorist ASAP. they [sic] didn’t even handcuff him and were protecting him but it’s okay to do that to black people and even kill them?
Further, the author contends Vechirko has not yet been charged because of “white privilege.”
He concludes by imploring,
I demand that we come together to combat racial injustice in this broken justice system and that they treat everyone with equality.
Comments by those supporting the petition indicate some want Vechirko charged with “attempted murder” and a “hate crime.”
One commenter wrote, “Execute white supremacists… they are a danger to children.”
Another said, “i want a front row seat to that psychotic f-ck’s electric chair party.”
Click HERE to read the entire petition.
In addition to these petitions, there is also discussion in these groups to possibly file a lawsuit against Kenan Advantage, the company Vechirko was contracted with, over the ordeal.
Trucking Industry Response So Far
Trucking industry groups and the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) have largely been quiet, so far, about the incident.
Truckers, however, are quite a different story as TNN has received thousands of comments on our social media and member pages about the situation.
One such trucker is Rick Santiago of New Jersey.
He is speaking up for Vechirko and promising to call on thousands of trucks to protest in Minneapolis if Vechirko is ultimately charged.
“This isn’t about rates [no more], this is about our rights,” Santiago declared in a social media video on Friday. “We have a right to stand our ground and defend ourselves.”
“What is happening now is domestic terrorism. So, basically what they are saying is if this guy isn’t charged [then] the city of Minneapolis will be under siege,” Santiago asserted. “I swear to God I will call on every single truck in America to shut down if he is charged! Why? Because then we don’t have any rights at all.”
The video quickly went viral within the trucking community and beyond, with now more than 250,000 views.
Santiago again told TNN on Monday if Vechirko is charged he will be heading to Minneapolis and he will be bringing many truckers with him.
Click HERE to read more and WATCH Santiago’s viral video.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow new developments.