Knight, a wry father of five who goes by Ryan and has the seal of the Choctaw nation tattooed on his right wrist, wanted to show his support for Black Americans, to be one more body in the sea of millions taking to the streets across the country to protest racism and police brutality.
But once he got up to the highway, Knight didn’t feel comfortable, decided it was time to go, and made his way toward the shoulder.
That’s where his memory ends.
While the drivers of the stopped vehicles seethed over the demonstration, a red pickup truck with a hulking, empty horse trailer pushed into the crowd as its driver placed a handgun on the dashboard, witnesses said, and protesters banged on its hood and threw things at the vehicle as it moved in. Knight can’t remember the screams, the crush of people, how it separated him from his girlfriend, and how, in the chaos, he was propelled over the highway’s edge, falling onto the grass below.
What Knight remembers is his time in the hospital, and how at first he couldn’t swallow, or breathe on his own, or move his fingers. He remembers learning his spinal cord was damaged, that he could not walk.
“As soon as I woke up, I was like, man, am I paralyzed?” said Knight, 34. “It was devastating.”
The episode left Knight in a wheelchair and cost him his job. But to Oklahoma prosecutors, neither he nor the handful of others who were injured in the chaos are victims of a crime. That July, while Knight was still at a rehabilitation center in Colorado, the local district attorney announced no charges would be filed against the driver, whose identity was kept secret, saying that the man was scared for his family in the vehicle and acted in self-defense and that protesters had unnecessarily blocked the road.
The Oklahoma legislature has now codified this legal standard, and this is becoming more common — definitely read the whole article if you get the chance.
People still ask us why anyone would pay attention to cranks like Glenn Reynolds. The answer is that bloodthirsty lunacy on a law professor’s blog is often about six months away from becoming Republican orthodoxy.