Police Clear Protesters from Interstate After Minor Clash and Few Arrests

June 17, 2017 12:28 PM

Police cleared hundreds of demonstrators who were protesting the verdict in the Jeronimo Yanez trial from Interstate 94 early Saturday morning.

Police gave protesters numerous warnings that being on the interstate constituted an unlawful assembly and that arrests would be made if they did not clear the roadway. A KSTP reporter on scene said officers sprayed protesters with mace while attempting to control the crowd.

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The Minnesota State Patrol reported one arrest at I-94 and Marion Street.

The last time I-94 was blocked was after the 2016 election. No arrests were made at that time.

In 2016, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell created a unit to specialize in controlling public demonstrations to ensure they remain peaceful and safe.

Hundreds gathered at the State Capitol to protest the not guilty verdict returned by a jury in the manslaughter trial of former St. Anthony police officer Yanez.

After the demonstration at the State Capitol, the protesters took to the streets of St. Paul, eventually making their way to I-94.

At on point in the evening, police reported crowds of 2,000 people marching in the streets.

There were also reports of people gathering in Falcon Heights at the scene where Yanez shot Philando Castile.

Earlier in the day, Yanez's attorney Tom Kelly said the trial was fairly litigated and that, "nobody should have an adverse reaction to this."

RELATED: Yanez Defense: 'It Was the Right Decision' After a Ramsey County Jury Finds the Former Officer Not Guilty

The Castile family delivered an impassioned statement outside the courthouse Friday afternoon, saying they were extremely disappointed with the jury's not guilty verdict, expressing disappointment in the justice system.

Valerie Castile, Philando's mother, yelled an expletive as she left the courtroom, according to reporters inside the courtroom.

Minutes later, she spoke outside of the courthouse saying, "I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota. ... The city killed my son, and a murderer gets away. Are you kidding me?!"

RELATED: Castile Family Says Justice System 'Failed' with Not Guilty Verdict

Castile added that Yanez will get justice in the end. 

"Yanez may have gotten away with justice on this planet of existence. He will not get away with divine justice. He has to answer to someone bigger than all of us," she said. "He's just here. We're just going through this human experience, and he will have to face his creator, and I hope he'll die tonight."

The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on one count of manslaughter in the second degree shooting death of Castile shortly before 3 p.m.

The jury also found Yanez not guilty on the first count reckless discharge of a firearm, and not guilty on the second count of reckless discharge of a firearm.

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