Activists say they'll protest daily, demand an 'actual independent special prosecutor'

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Activists plan to spend the week at the Ramsey County Attorney's office, demanding an independent special prosecutor investigate the Philando Castile case.

They're calling for Attorney John Choi to step down from the investigation and let the Minnesota Attorney General take over so she can assign a special investigator.

A group showed up at Choi's office Monday to deliver 7,000 signatures of people who want a truly independent investigation.

The demonstrators also wanted to meet with the county attorney personally, the Star Tribune reports. But county officials said Choi was busy.

So a group showed up again on Tuesday.

The Facebook group has also scheduled demonstrations for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The activists say they plan to protest daily.

Demand for a special prosecutor

Activists have been calling for an independent special prosecutor since Castile was fatally shot by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop July 6.

They say there is “unavoidable conflict of interest” when county attorneys, who work closely with police on a daily basis to prosecute other cases, weigh charges in officer-involved shootings. In fact, activists say since 2000, 148 people have been killed by police in Minnesota – none of the officers involved faced charges.

The demonstrations at Choi’s office came days after the county attorney attempted a compromise by hiring Don Lewis to be a special prosecutor who will work with Choi’s office on the case.

The attorney for the Castile family called the move a “step in the right direction” and a “good middle ground.”

But activists say that’s not enough – and argue appointing Lewis doesn’t make the investigation independent.

Charles Samuelson, the executive director of the ACLU-Minnesota, says the prosecutor in the case should be “truly independent of Ramsey County or of any organization that works with law enforcement,” and they are still asking that Gov. Mark Dayton appoint a special prosecutor for the case.

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