According to the Bismarck Tribune, a Republican lawmaker in North Dakota introduced a bill that would protect drivers who unintentionally hit pedestrians who are blocking traffic on public roads, even if the pedestrian is injured or killed.
Rep. Keith Kempenich admitted that House Bill 1203 was created because of the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters, who successfully stopped the construction of the pipeline that was supposed to go under Lake Oahe near Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
Kempenich claims that his mother-in-law came really close to hitting someone when she came across a group of protesters and someone jumped in front of her car. The lawmaker said the purpose of the bill is to protect drivers who “[punches] the accelerator rather than the brakes.”
Roadways “are not there for the protestors,” Kempenich said.
Although North Dakota House Majority Leader Al Carlson agreed that something needs to be done about the protesters, he warned about “[violating] the right to peaceful protest.”
In 2016, Pipeline protestors had many clashes with the police and private security firms, resulting in violent confrontations that involved tear gas, water cannons and dog attacks. At one point, a man in a white pick-up truck plowed through the protesters sending at least one women to the hospital.