Bill would provide immunity for drivers who accidentally strike protesters

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A motorist who accidentally drives a car into street protesters could be immune from civil liability under a bill being considered in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Rep. Justin Price, an Exeter Republican, introduced legislation on Wednesday that says drivers won’t be liable for injuring protesters if they’re blocking traffic in a public right-of-way. The immunity would only benefit drivers who are exercising due care, not those who willfully or wantonly injure a protester.

Most of the bill’s co-sponsors are Republicans. Democrats control the state legislature.

Demonstrators in 2014 blocked Interstate 95 through Providence while protesting a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

No one was injured in that protest.