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Walz: Truck driver ‘confused’

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The driver of a semitrailer who rolled into the midst of thousands of people who had gathered on a closed Minneapolis freeway to protest George Floyd’s death was apparently confused and didn’t mean to injure anyone, Gov. Tim Walz said Monday.

It appeared no one was hurt Sunday, authorities said, but some witnesses said a handful of people who were on Interstate 35W near downtown Minneapolis sought medical attention on their own. Authorities said they could not confirm that.

“He wasn’t stopping. He was beeping loudly and driving into a crowd of people,” Drew Valle, a special education teacher, told the Star Tribune. “That’s the same kind of malice that brought us here. It’s a callous disregard for someone’s humanity.”

Walz said Monday he was “breathless” as he watched the scene unfold and he thought he was going to see “dozens or hundreds” of people killed. But he said preliminary information suggests the driver somehow got ahead of traffic officials as they were closing the freeway down in sections. He noted the driver braked as he rolled past protesters.

“The driver was frustrated,” Walz said. “They close in sections and he got ahead of people.”

Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said traffic cameras show the driver was already on the freeway before it was closed.

“From what we can tell in our interviews, we have not had any information that makes this seem like this was an intentional act,” Harrington said. “It wasn’t that he went around barricades to get at the protest.”

The freeway was among many shut down in the Minneapolis area as officials imposed an 8 p.m. curfew and sought to make it more difficult for protesters to move around.

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