Minnesota Ukrainians driving truck into crowd of protesters not charged
On June 2, a Ukrainian from Minnesota, Bogdan Vechirko, who drove a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis on a tanker truck, was released from prison without charge. According to law enforcement authorities, the investigation is ongoing, writes "Voice of America".
A 35-year-old US citizen of Ukrainian origin was arrested on suspicion of having committed an attack and was detained in the Gennepin County Prison. In Minnesota, suspects can be held without formal charges for 36 hours. In the case of Vechirko, this period has expired.
On the evening of May 31, Vechirko, while driving an empty tank truck, at high speed drove into a crowd of protestersthat were moving towards the I-35W expressway. Local media in Minnesota report that he warned protesters in advance, but did not slow down. People managed to escape, and none of them was hurt. When the driver stopped, a crowd surrounded his truck.
The photographs show that Vechirko was beaten. There are bruises and traces of blood on his face and body. It is not officially confirmed who did this. Before imprisonment, law enforcement officers took the driver to a hospital, where Vechirko was diagnosed with injuries that did not pose a threat to his life.
Tuesday, June 2, Vechirko released from custody.
Prosecutors can accuse Bogdan Vechirko later if they find evidence of his guilt.
“Investigators are now in the process of gathering additional information and answers to help make a decision on the charges,” the Gennepin County Attorney's Office said.
Commissioner of the Department of Public Security John Harrington said that at the beginning of the investigation Vechirko’s actions seemed intentional, but it may turn out that this did not happen on purpose.
In Minneapolis, as in other cities in the United States, mass protests have continued for more than a week after the death of African-American George Floyd during a tough police detention. The public was outraged by the fact that during the detention one of the policemen for a long time pressed his knee on the neck of Floyd lying on the pavement. The man repeated that he could not breathe. A policeman who kneeled on Floyd's neck was charged with murder.
Bogdan Vechirko works as an independent contractor for the shipping company Ken Advantage. The company said they were ready to fully cooperate with the investigation.
“Our first and foremost concern is the safety of the public, our employees and our customers,” said a company spokesman. - We will fully cooperate in the investigation. It would be incorrect to comment on the situation until we have additional facts, because the investigation is at an early stage. ”
Who is Bogdan Vechirko
In the Ukrainian community of Minnesota, Vechirko is described as "a Ukrainian, a peaceful Christian, a good family man, an honest and decent person." They also said that Bogdan Vechirko was brought up in a family of Evangelical Christians.
According to sources in the Ukrainian community, the Vechirko family emigrated to the United States when Bogdan was 5 years old, in the status of religious refugees. His family is from Chervonograd, Lviv region.
According to sources, Bogdan Vechirko and his wife are expecting their firstborn: Lyudmila Vechirko is in her eighth month of pregnancy. She comes from Transnistria.
Support Bogdan Vechirko pic.twitter.com/sH5XTlnKah
- Artyom Loginov (@artloghinov) June 2, 2020
As a relative of Bogdan's family, Artem Loginov, told Voice of America, during the arrest, someone from the crowd stole Vechirko's wallet and mobile phone. Now from this stolen phone unknown people are calling Vechirko's wife and friends with threats. The pregnant spouse was forced to temporarily change her place of residence.
On the subject: Will insurance cover car damage during protests and riots?
Friends say that Bogdan has a good private lawyer, but did not say who finances the lawyer services.
They claim that Bohdan did not fight in eastern Ukraine, did not serve in the Ukrainian army, was not in Vinnitsa, and he does not have a Facebook page, as some Russian media report. According to friends, after immigration, Bogdan was in Ukraine only once - he came to Odessa two years ago.
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