Lawmakers in North Carolina say they won’t advance a controversial bill that would have provided immunity to drivers who hit protesters blocking streets.
Lawmakers backed off the bill following the tragic events in Charlottesville in which a Nazi sympathizer drove his car into a crowd and killed a woman protesting a white supremacist gathering.
The North Carolina bill has caused great controversy, even though the bill said it would provide immunity only under specific circumstances.
Republican Rep. Justin Burr, the bill’s sponsor, told the News&Observer, “This bill does not allow for the driver of a vehicle to target protesters intentionally,” he said. “It does protect individuals who are rightfully trying to drive down the road.”
But that wasn’t enough to assuage opponents who say the bill would give motorists a free pass to run over protesters.
N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin called the legislation a “shockingly horrible and dangerous piece of legislation.” He continued, in remark in a press release: “This bill (gives) motorists a free pass to run over protesters without any fear of civil liability,” Goodwin said in a news release. “This legislation is antithetical to our values and risks causing bodily harm to peaceful protesters.”