Dozens of I-94 protesters see their riot charges dropped

Dozens of people were arrested after demonstrators marched on I-94 in St. Paul, following the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile.

Dozens of people that marched on I-94 after the death of Philando Castile, blocking traffic on the highway and leading to tense clashes with law enforcement, had riot charges against them dropped.

A judge Wednesday threw out the third-degree riot counts against 38 of the protesters, the Star Tribune reported.

A few attorneys on Facebook shared the news as well, including Bruce Nestor (who noted the defendants' legal team included members of the National Lawyers Guild, ACLU, and other private attorneys) and Steven Appelget (who said he represents some of the defendants).

The group 94 Friends – whose goal is strictly to raise money for attorneys who do legal work for protesters – also wrote about the decision.

Here's one of the orders, if you want to read about the judge's decision in detail.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched along the highway in St. Paul on the night of July 9. Rocks and other debris were thrown at officers, and more than a dozen of them were injured. The State Patrol said it arrested 50 people on the highway; others were arrested off the highway.

The judge Wednesday said there wasn't enough evidence to meet the minimum standard for probable cause that could lead to charges, Nestor wrote. The law requires someone to actually engage in an act of force or violence – not just be near other people who are doing so.

Third-degree riot is a gross misdemeanor, and can result in a penalty of up to a year in prison, or up to a $1,000 fine.

Nekima Levy-Pounds, a former attorney and local NAACP leader who is now running for Minneapolis mayor, called the dropped charges a "major victory."

The protesters are still facing less serious trespassing charges, and were expected in court Thursday.

Next Up

Ricky Rubio

Report: Timberwolves trade Ricky Rubio to Cleveland

Rubio's homecoming in Minnesota lasted just one season.

Tim Walz - YouTube - Screengrab

Gov. Walz: Newly-vaccinated Minnesotans will get $100

The incentive was announced shortly after President Biden announced the initiative.

Flickr - USPS post office mail truck - Paul Sableman

Man who attacked Oakdale postal worker gets 18 months in prison

He was accused of hopping over the counter and repeatedly punching the employee.

Wikimedia COmmons - Sierra store - Steve Morgan

Off-price retail store Sierra will open a St. Cloud location

It is the brand's first Minnesota store outside the Twin Cities.

Motzko and Schuneman

Driver in crash that killed Motzko, Schundeman released from custody

Authorities say he was driving during the crash that killed Sam Schuneman and Mack Motzko.


Dental practice fired manager because she was too old, investigation finds

The business has agreed to a $54,000 settlement with the employee.

Ryan Suter

Suter says goodbye to Minnesota in Players Tribune piece

As Suter heads for Dallas, the Wild revamp their blue line.

vaccine, covid

Gov. Walz launches 'Vax to School' campaign ahead of new year

The state is encouraging students aged 12-17 to get vaccinated before school starts.

Justin Jefferson

Coller: Justin Jefferson isn't the sophomore slump type

Matthew Coller writes a weekly column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider. He also hosts a weekly Vikings livestream on BMTN's YouTube and Facebook.

storm damage

State of Emergency in Wisconsin as daylight reveals massive storm damage

A tornado may have directly hit a farmstead, causing destruction.

Facebook - Line 3 frac out July 27 photo - Ron Turney

MPCA acknowledges 8 more drilling fluid releases during Line 3 work

That includes at least one fluid release into wetlands, which is a violation.


More than a dozen protesters arrested for blocking I-94

Some Twin Cities journalists were also among those arrested.

Yanez's lawyers: Castile smoked pot and was negligent, so throw out charges

The attorneys argue it was at least partially Philando Castile's fault he was shot and killed.

ICYMI: Charges against Jeronimo Yanez reveal Philando Castile's final moments

Castile's last words, recorded at 9:06.04, were: "I wasn't reaching for it."

4 more protesters from Philando Castile I-94 demonstration plead guilty

One of them called the prosecution of protests "inappropriate."

Video: Castile's family talks about the 'landmark decision' to bring charges

Philando Castile's family supports the decision to charge the officer Yanez with second-degree manslaughter.

Nashville officer fired for 'I would have done 5' Facebook post about Castile shooting

The Nashville officer also wrote: "... you don't shoot just one. If I use my weapon, I shoot to kill and stop the threat."