District Attorney Explains Decision To Not Pursue Charges Against Truck Driver

Friday, July 24th 2020, 9:23 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

In a new report, the Tulsa County District Attorney explained why the decision not to file charges against the driver of a truck and trailer who drove through a crowd of protesters on I-244 in May was an obvious one.

DA Kunzweiler said a protester originally waved the driver of the truck through the crowd, along with a car in front of the truck, but then other protesters assaulted the truck and trailer.

Kunzweiler said the Oklahoma Highway Patrol didn't request charges or recommend prosecution and he said the reason for that is obvious.

Through a 12-page memo, Kunzweiler explains his decision.

He said drone surveillance photos taken during the protest on May 31, show the protesters surrounding the truck and trailer after a protestor had motioned for the driver to follow another car through the crowd.

The report said the driver, his wife and their two children were inside the truck.

"Those children were terrified, there's no better way to put it," Kunzweiler said.

He said the children described how they crawled onto the floor of the back seat, crying. The father told OHP he feared for the lives of his family.

Kunzweiler said surveillance photos show protesters trying to get into the truck, break the windshield, the grill, tear off a mirror and people throwing things at it.

"A lot of weapons being used on the vehicle, they had skateboards, possibly bricks, had a guy that I'd describe as a retractable baton, striking on the driver's window, or the passengers window behind him," Kunzweiler said.

Kunzweiler said it's illegal in Oklahoma to block roads, highways and to throw items at people inside a vehicle.

He said Oklahoma law also recognizes someone's right to defend themselves or others.

"You take it from his perspective. What would a reasonable person do in that circumstance, in that situation? Would he be justified in defending himself or others and it's clear for me when you look at some of those still shots what that family was going through," Kunzweiler said.

Kunzweiler said some of the protesters tried stop the attackers. He also encouraged OHP to find the people who caused the damage, so they can be prosecuted.

Three protesters were hurt when the truck drove through that day.

News On 6 plans to speak with the attorney of one of those protesters on Saturday. The family of protesters who fell off a bridge declined to be re-interviewed.