Trial Begins for Three I-94 Protesters Arrested in Castile Demostration
FOX 9 - KMSP
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) – The first trial is set to begin Tuesday for some of the people arrested during protests on Interstate 94 last summer following the shooting death of Philando Castile.
Three days after Castile was shot and killed by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, hundreds of protesters marched onto I-94 in St. Paul, shutting down the freeway for several hours. The protests eventually turned violent with demonstrators throwing bottles, fireworks, and even a Molotov cocktail at police.
Forty-seven people were arrested. Many were initially charged with rioting, but that charge was later dismissed by a judge who said there was not enough evidence proving the defendants threw items at police.
After plea deals, about 20 protesters still face trial for public nuisance and unlawful assembly.
After Officer Yanez was found not guilty in June, protesters once again marched onto I-94 in St. Paul. A total of 18 protesters were arrested that night, but charges against them were later dropped.
Last week, riot charges against Castile’s cousin Louis Hunter, were dropped. Hunter admitted he wa
s involved in last year’s protests, but prosecutors say video shows while Hunter was agitated and yelling at officers, he did not throw anything at them.
The first three defendants, Adam Burch, Elise Sommers, and Zachary Kolodziej, go on trial Tuesday in Ramsey County court.