Texas Lawmaker: Bill to Protect Drivers Who Hit Protesters Would Not Apply to ‘jackass' Charged in Charlottesville Murder

AUSTIN — The author of a Texas bill to protect drivers who injure demonstrators found himself the target of outrage on social media this weekend after the hit-and-run death of a young woman protesting white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va.Last month, Rep. Pat Fallon filed legislation to protect motorists who hit demonstrators "blocking traffic in a public right-of-way" if the driver exercises "due care." House Bill 25 would protect drivers against civil liability only but would not lessen criminal penalties for deadly hit-and-runs, a second-degree felony in Texas.Fallon's bill has no chance of passing this summer. Lawmakers are scheduled to gavel out the month-long summer special session on Wednesday without even holding a hearing on the measure. Nevertheless, by Monday morning, the Frisco Republican said he'd received "hundreds" of angry responses from people upset over the events this weekend in Virginia, especially the death of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old protester struck and killed by a driver who also injured at least 19 other people.James Alex Fields, a 20-year-old Ohio man who rallied with white supremacist groups on Saturday, has been charged with her murder as well as malicious wounding and failing to stop at a crash site that resulted in a death. Fallon said his legislation would not have protected someone like Fields from criminal charges. He blasted the white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville."Any jackass that thinks they're going to be cool because they're a Nazi, are you serious?" Fallon told The Dallas Morning News. "There's no room for that," he added, calling Heyer's death "horrific."Fallon added he was "incredibly offended" that people tied his bill to Fields and those like him. He posted this message on Facebook early Monday morning:"To the hundred or so alt left folks that contacted us with outrageous hate (so much for tolerance): What happened in VA was atrocious and yes it was murder. Any leveled headed American would condemn it as I do. We need to take care to be consistent and condemn all racism and hate. It's ugly, counter productive and pointless. We can love those we disagree with it. Unfortunately the media seems to have preferential victims depending on their agenda. That's sad. At the end of the day We are all broken-hearted that this young lady's life was taken far too soon and in such a horrifically evil way. Our prayers are with her family and friends."  Continue reading...

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