Macareno: “Drive through justice for the right is not right”

On May 30, Visalia became part of a national record of locations of vehicles plowing into crowds gathered to stand for progressive ideals.

On that day Tulare County residents peacefully protested in unity the national wave and support for the “Black Lives Matter” movement. It was also the day when a Visalia driver drove through a group of protesters that resulted in two injuries before leaving the scene.

Last week Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward announced that he would not charge the driver for running through protesters despite his negligence captured via video, photos and eyewitnesses.

I will submit that the Visalia driver the benefit of doubt that he is not an extremist, but his action was certainly malicious with intent and political.

The DA’s position is a blow to our confidence in our law enforcement. Something so obvious should at the very least been addressed with a citation.

The DA’s inaction of justice not only denied the two individuals the respect of justice, it brings greater harm as in giving confidence to potential “extremists” that these kinds of occurrences, should they happen, will go without consequence here in Tulare County. Further it grows a mistrust of local agencies not following through with the common sense of law.

The District Attorney could have at minimum charged the driver in violation of California Vehicle Code 22350 which states that a person cannot drive at a speed that, “..endangers the safety of persons.”; instead of comparing the dangers of a 12 oz., water bottle to that of a two ton jeep.

Just recently something similar happened in conservative Indiana on July 6 when a driver drove her red Toyota Corolla into a crowd dragging two protesters. Both of those protesters, like in Visalia, suffered non-life threatening injuries.

The difference between the two incidents, the Indiana driver was arrested and charged with two counts of criminal recklessness and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident.

Despite the fact that the Visalia driver did not kill anyone, his disregard for human life was at an instant evident. There are so many negative influences that encourage such activity. For instance on the internet postings featuring messages such as “Run them over” in reference to protesters.

Many will remember that incredible scene in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 when Heather Heyer, 32, was ran over by a right-winger, trapped under a vehicle and died at a counter “Unite the Right” rally.

We since have taken notice of many more similar incidents. The use of cars to break up peaceful protesters has become a very real threat across the country these days. We have seen it happen again and again nationwide.

Since the Visalia incident there have been much more than 50 of these vehicle-protesters incidents nationwide including in nearby Bakersfield. In that unfortunate event the driver also was not charged and the protester, a community advocate, was killed.  It is important to note that the Bakersfield driver sports a neo-Nazi tattoo.

Although no one died in Visalia, two did get hit. The optics is bad, particularly now after the George Floyd murder that cries out for justice and police reform.

The Visalia driver clearly instigated the May 30th incident. The driver and his two passengers drove the blue Jeep Wrangler with a large “Make America Great Again” Trump flag mounted on the back end of the vehicle into an obvious large progressive gathering. What kind of greeting did he expect?

Not knowing or caring that he may have seriously hurt someone, he left the scene.  After the incident he drove to the police station where he felt he would be safe. Why did he feel that confidence?

There are reasons why you don’t leave a scene of an accident, so that if necessary an immediate investigation can be conducted by law enforcement. If he felt unsafe he could have gone down the block or around the corner where he would be “safe.”

The driver reported that he feared for his life and drove off out of self-defense yet photos show him smiling wildly.

In the DA’s announcement he compares the dangers of a two ton jeep to that of a 12 oz water bottle as equally dangerous. True, protesters should keep themselves safe when on a public road way but drivers in vehicles should take extra precaution in such environments where people are on roadways. The facts are clear. The jeep injured two, the water bottle didn’t injure anyone.

We expect nothing more that blind justice and that law.

Ruben Macareno

Farmersville City Councilman

5 thoughts on “Macareno: “Drive through justice for the right is not right”

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  1. They both broke the law and both are radicles. They were both protesting and it wasn’t peaceful and put others in danger. No regard for the law or for others wellbeing.

  2. The occupants in the Jeep had the right to protest their opinions and beliefs just as much as the other parties involved. If you’re going to claim you’re peacefully protesting then engage in a conflict for whatever reasons, it cannot be considered peaceful. They willingly engaged! Had they ignored the so called ,” mockery” they claim was coming from the jeeps occupants, all of this could have been avoided. I never seen the Jeep veer towards anyone to intentionally run them over. I did however see an individual proceed toward the Jeep, obstruct it’s path, and leaving no other way to flee once things started to get confrontational. I doubt ANYONE wouldn’t fear for their life when you have dozens of protesters who are now starting to come towards your vehicle while you’re stuck in traffic. Let’s not forget that there is something thrown at you. No one in their right mind would stay there without panicking. Both sides made multiple wrong decisions. Both sides are equally responsible and therefore should equally share consequences.You can try to justify it however you want , but the bottom line is, “There is no right way to do a wrong act” and it is wrong for someone to think that you can approach a vehicle in a confrontational manner, and claim to be a victim of malicious intent . I see no crime here other than all the false accusations and manipulations to try and force a conviction to suit your perception of a lawful justice. There are consequences to every bad decision. Although we may not always agree with the outcomes , accepting them is the first step in moving on. Let’s move on!

  3. As a Criminal Defense Attorney, and a long time Democrat who hates everything about Donald Trump, this article disturbs me greatly. Mr. Macareno is sadly guilty of exactly the wrongdoing that he incorrectly ascribes to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office. He wants a political prosecution because he doesn’t like the views expressed by the “defendant.” That shouldn’t be how things work. Tim Ward clearly looked at this case and correctly saw that no reasonable jury could convict the driver. You don’t need to “equate” a vehicle and a water bottle to understand that self defense allows a person who is being attacked to flee. Ignoring the right to self defense to go after a Trump supporter (as grossly wrong about everything possible as those people certainly are) smacks of the kind of selective justice found in the third world. It should make people very uncomfortable to see even a minor political official advocate for that.

  4. Wow… as a journalist myself, I have never read such one-sided BS.
    No one was “ran over.” I can 100% guarantee if the driver of the Jeep had been out to hurt someone they would have been hurt. Also if you do not want to get run over by a vehicle don’t take the chance by entering the roadway. And you are macareno also stating that they were being antagonistic by carrying a flag of their duly elected president. What has this country become when you can be attacked physically for wearing a hat representing your president or a flag or something of that nature? Your’e telling everyone it’s OK to physically attack people if they’re not wearing clothing attire you approve of. Ruben you need to stay in your own lane dude. You’re a council member in a small city in California. A city I might add you don’t even legally live in but hey. Again get back in your own lane and just quit trying to find some other office to run for so you can raise campaign funds and live off of them for the next year.

    • Irrespective of his opinion, of course this is one-sided. As a journalist yourself, you should recognize this as an opinion piece.

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