Eighteen people were arrested during protests that erupted in St. Paul, Minnesota, Friday following a police officer’s acquittal in the shooting death of Philando Castile, a black cafeteria worker.
Splitting off from a demonstration that began at the state Capitol, protesters carrying signs that read “Justice not served for Philando,” “Unite for Philando” and “Corrupt Systems Only Corrupt” marched onto Interstate 94.
The protests followed the verdict that found St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, 29, not guilty of manslaughter after he shot and killed Castile, 32, during a July 6, 2016, traffic stop.
Moments before Castile was shot, he informed Yanez that he was carrying a gun. Yanez testified that he feared for his life, and that Castile ignored his repeated commands not to pull out the firearm.
In response to the verdict, Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, spoke outside the Ramsey County Courthouse, claiming that her son’s death was a murder and saying, “I hope [Yanez] dies tonight!”
The verdict came almost a year after Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, posted a Facebook live video showing Castile slumped in the driver’s seat with blood seeping through his shirt.
Castile’s mother said, “I’m mad as hell right now. My son loved this city, and this city killed my son.
“The system continues to fail black people, and it will continue to fail you all.
“The fact in this matter is that my son was murdered, and I’ll continue to say murdered, because where in this planet (can you) tell the truth, and you be honest, and you still be murdered by the police of Minnesota,” Valerie Castile said, referencing that her son said to Yanez during the traffic stop, “Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me.”
The protest at the state Capitol drew thousands of people, and began a march that disrupted light-rail trains and shut down Interstate 94 in both directions by a group of demonstrators chanting, “Black lives…they matter here!”
According to Minnesota State Police, 18 people were arrested around 12.30 a.m. after they refused to comply with orders to disperse.
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