As thousands of protesters shut down I-94 in St. Paul, Minnesota this weekend on Saturday night into Sunday morning, the rally turned violent when one of the protesters dropped a concrete block on a police officer’s head, shattering his spine.
As a result of the protest, 21 police officers were injured. The injuries were caused by rocks, bricks, fireworks, glass bottles and concrete. One of the protesters also threw a Molotov cocktail.
More than 100 people were arrested and 52 were taken into custody for public nuisance and unlawful assembly. Roughly 50 people were arrested for third-degree riot overnight on I-94.
To prevent others from getting injured and in the way of the protest, officers blocked off the interstate.
The protest was held because of the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a black male that was killed by a police officer last week. Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile released a statement Sunday condemning acts of violence following Castile’s death.
“On behalf of myself and our entire family, we urge all people to remain peaceful in all demonstrations throughout our community and our nation. When demonstrations become violent, it disrespects my son and his memory. Philando was a man of peace and dignity. Please, I ask you to at all times remain peaceful in your expressions of concern regarding his death at the hands of the police. I promise that we will not rest until justice prevails.”
St. Paul police chief, Todd Axtell commented on the protest turning violent.
“Last night, really was the first time in my 28 years as a police officer, that I had observed the level of violence that was directed towards public servants. It’s really a disgrace. Protesters last night turned into criminals. I’m absolutely disgusted by the actions of some. We will not tolerate it,” Axtell said.
Axtell also explained that some of the protesters were using children as human shields.
“It’s really disgusting if you ask me. I can’t for the life understand why you would put a child into that position in the first place,” Axtell said.