In the wake of last year’s police shooting of Patrick Kimmons, Portland, Oregon, was in an uproar.
Kimmons’ family says he was a young man struggling to get away from a notorious gang, shot in the back 15 times in cold blood by officers. A coroner’s report found a cocktail of mind-altering drugs in his system and determined that some shots entered from his front side.
A revolver was found near his body, a gun which an eyewitness said Kimmons looked like he was about to use against officers. The officers were cleared of any wrongdoing.
Before the facts surfaced, however, protesters flooded the streets of Portland.
Waving signs that contained messages such as “justice 4 Patrick Kimmons,” the rabble blocked roads and impeded traffic. Unfortunately, Mark Dickerson was out driving on that same day.
Video cobbled together from dashcam film and pedestrian footage reveal what happened when Dickerson met the protesters.
Now, nobody’s saying that you should be able to run over pedestrians, but what Dickerson did was clearly a controlled and reasonable response to the situation.
He drove slowly and gave protesters the chance to move out of the way, though one did jump directly in his path. This appears to have happened too fast for Dickerson to react, and the protester was given what appeared to be an accidental bump.
It’s hard to tell what would have happened had Dickerson remained stopped. Mob mentality is nothing to trifle with, and being the one person in a car surrounded by an angry crowd can be downright deadly.
Regardless of whether he made the correct call, police arrested him shortly after.
Dickerson was slapped with charges of assault, reckless endangering, and reckless driving.
Things were looking grim for Dickerson until the morning of the trial. The man his vehicle collided with, Arthuray Dudley, talked with a prosecutor before the proceedings.
Dudley said that he had childcare constraints and could not stay in court all day. When told the court offered childcare services, Dudley was still adamant that he could not stay.
With that, the state’s case went up in smoke.
A Multnomah County District Attorney’s office spokesperson said that Dudley’s cooperation was vital to proving their case. Without it, the judge dismissed the trial after the defense filed a motion asking for the case to be thrown out.
Evidently, Dickerson escaped by the skin of his teeth.
The best way to avoid similar legal trouble may be to steer clear of protests altogether and never drive through Portland after a police shooting.
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