The motorist who slowly drove through a throng of protesters in a south Minneapolis intersection and slightly injured a teenage demonstrator pleaded guilty Friday to one misdemeanor and had two other misdemeanor charges dismissed.
Jeffrey P. Rice, 41, of St. Paul, was fined $575 and ordered to attend a driver's education course within six months for failure to yield to a pedestrian.
Dropped during the brief hearing in Hennepin County District Court were charges of reckless driving with willful or wanton disregard for public safety and careless driving. Judge Juan Hoyos stayed a 90-day jail term for one year on the condition that Rice not commit any traffic violations.
Rice was charged in March after the county attorney's office decided not to pursue a felony case for driving through the protesters on Nov. 25 at E. Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue.
Several hundred protesters were blocking the intersection as part of a national wave of demonstrations surrounding events in Ferguson, Mo.
Rice ran into and slightly injured a 16-year-old girl as others were perched on the hood of his Subaru station wagon. After driving slowly through the crowd, Rice pulled over, called 911 and was questioned by officers.
His mother said in an interview that evening that her son was coming home from work and "didn't even know what was going on" when he encountered the crowd.
Police said in their initial incident report that his vehicle was being damaged as he "was attempting to flee from the mob."
The report initially listed Rice as a "victim" and the injured girl under a category marked "other." Later in the day, police changed the listing of Rice to "suspect."