When is a Dodge Charger Legally Considered a Dangerous Weapon?
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - A new ruling from the Minnesota Court of Appeals makes it clear that a motor vehicle can be considered a dangerous weapon under state law.
The ruling overturns an earlier decision by a Hennepin County judge to dismiss a second-degree riot charge against a man accused of organizing some of the "intersection takeovers" that became common late-night occurrences in the Twin Cities last summer. The defendant in the case, Ayoob Addus-Salem, tried to argue that cars cannot be considered dangerous weapons even if they are used in a reckless manner and dangerously close to onlookers.
The "intersection takeovers" featured drivers of high-powered muscle cars, often Dodge Chargers and Challengers, who would enter large intersections and "spin donuts" for the entertainment of large mobs gathered around the intersection, often within a few feet of the nearly out of control vehicles.
According to court records, Addus-Salam was charged with two counts of second-degree riot. The charges allege Addus-Salam promoted the intersection take-overs in urban areas and included videos showing him in some of the vehicles that were spinning around and spewing smoke from burning tires while some of the vehicle occupants leaned out the car windows to further excite the crowds of spectators.
The Appeals Court ruled the vehicles can be classified as dangerous weapons if they're used in a manner "known to be capable of producing death or great bodily harm." The decision sends the case back to Hennepin County Court with the riot charges reinstated.