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Outside the State Fair, a reminder: This is where Philando Castile was shot

State Fair visitors stuck in traffic on Larpenteur Ave. Monday evening got a reminder that their  cars were idling at a site that became infamous in the Twin Cities this summer.

Some of the few dozen demonstrators held signs and chanted slogans at the curb where Philando Castile was pulled over and fatally shot by a St. Anthony police officer in July.

Some drivers passing by honked their horns in support of the gathering at the site, which has become known as Philando’s Peace Garden.

“It’s a remembering and a raising of awareness,” Nancy Robinett told BringMeTheNews. “Mr. Castile was killed here and people need to think about that.”

Nancy Robinett

Nancy Robinett at the vigil Monday. (Photo: William Wilcoxen)

Robinett lives in St. Anthony and says she’s a member of St. Anthony Villagers for Community Action, a group formed after the July 6 shooting of Catstile.

“We care about what’s going on in St. Anthony – the data that show racial disparities in police shootings and anecdotal reports of racial profiling,” she said as she kept an eye on her daughter while holding a sign on Larpenteur near Fry Street.

The peaceful demonstration was called Stand For Justice: Monday at the Memorial and was organized by two groups: Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace and St. Paul Eastside Neighbors for Peace.

They plan to hold a similar event again at 5 p.m. on Labor Day, which is the last day of the State Fair.

The Star Tribune reports some of Monday’s demonstrators marched from the site of Castile’s shooting to the nearby intersection of Larpenteur and Snelling and blocked traffic for about ten minutes

Castile’s death and investigation

Philando memorial

A memorial at the site of Philando Castile’s shooting. (Photo: William Wilcoxen)

Castile’s death quickly gained national notoriety after his girlfriend livestreamed the bloody aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. It became another flashpoint in this year’s national debate over police shootings of African-Americans and sparked a series of Minnesota protests, often in front of the governor’s residence in St. Paul.

The shooting of  the 32-year-old St. Paul school district employee is being investigated by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which will turn its findings over the Ramsey County Attorney to decide whether criminal charges will be filed. That decision could be turned over to a grand jury (which is what traditionally happens).

Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who fired the shots that killed Castile, was back at work briefly this month but was returned to a leave of absence by the police chief who said residents had raised concerns about Yanez being on the job during the investigation.

As she stood on Larpenteur Ave. Monday and heard the honking of passing cars, Lagina White of St. Paul said she’s sad there’s been no resolution of the Castile case, but added that she’s encouraged by the support extended to the Castile family and their cause.

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