Target: Loretta Lynch, Attorney General of the United States
Goal: Investigate lax charges made against man who allegedly drove through a group of protesters.
A man accused of driving through a gathering of protesters in Reno was only charged with provoking assault, even though he allegedly stalked the group and ran a woman over with his truck. Two other men from outside the truck who were involved with the incident received harsher sentences, and some believe the inequality is due to race. As previously covered in this ForceChange petition, the driver should also be charged with a hate crime and manslaughter. Many groups and hundreds of people have demanded that the Department of Justice (DOJ) look into what happened and determine if justice was served by the Reno Police Department (RPD).
Video footage of protesters marching against the Dakota Access Pipeline and demanding that Columbus Day be changed to Indigenous People’s Day appeared to show Nicholas Mahaffey, the driver of the truck, going the opposite way on the road as the group and yelling profanities out the window. Once he arrived at the Reno Arch, which it seems he would have had to circle around to get back to, a couple of men from the street approached and told the people in the vehicle to take a different route. Allegedly, Mahaffey and his passenger were punched in the face before they drove through the protest, which resulted in their attackers being charged with battery.
According to police, Mahaffey got off with the lax sentence because his actions were in self-defense. While they claim he had a right to protect himself, law enforcement failed to see that there were other ways he could have done so which wouldn’t have involved nearly killing people. Additionally, as he is seen in the video cursing and revving his engine, it is apparent that he is the aggressor and, therefore, cannot claim self-defense. Officials continue to blame the victims by noting that the group did not get a permit for their protest and were therefore not authorized to block the road, even though many claim the event was well publicized and that police should have been there.
The DOJ needs to get involved because the protesters, especially the woman who was run over and injured, have not been served justice. Mahaffey was seemingly looking for trouble that day when he harassed people on the street, and he should pay for the crimes he committed. Sign this petition to demand that the Justice Department dive into this case and attain a more appropriate conviction for Mahaffey.
Dear Attorney General Lynch,
While peaceful protesters were convening in front of the Reno Arch to take a picture, a man in a truck allegedly drove straight through them, injuring several people. The Reno Police Department only charged this man with aggravating assault, but he should be charged with counts of manslaughter and committing a hate crime. Many believe this police department did not perform its duty and that a higher authority is needed.
Though Mahaffey’s aggression was met with violence, it does not excuse allegations that he stalked and confronted the protesters in the first place. Evidence shows this man cursing, revving his engine, and then plowing through a group of people. I urge you to have your department investigate this case and attain justice for protesters in Reno.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lvtalon