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

Ambulance hospital emergency

Kandiyohi Co. man airlifted after hand caught in corn picker

Corn pickers are a common cause of farm accidents.

White tail deer

DNR: Passenger shot at deer out of driver's side window

The DNR said 'all sense of safety was disregarded.'

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Mpls council proposal would cut nearly $8M from 2021 police budget

The "Safety for All Budget Plan" was introduced Friday.

Shayne Munich

Minneapolis police appeal for help finding missing man

Shayne Munich is described as a vulnerable adult.

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 6.26.50 PM

Minnesota nurse's story about her battle with COVID-19 goes viral

A month later, Ashley Walter is on a hard road to recovery.

Adam Thielen

Report: Still on COVID-19 list, Thielen not expected to play Sunday

Thielen was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list on Monday.

Image from iOS (19)

Mask-wearing, distancing a common sight on MOA's Black Friday

Thousands of shoppers were out and about on Black Friday despite the COVID-19 situation.

Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz, MDH react to record-setting COVID-19 deaths

Minnesota can expect further bad news over the coming weeks.


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.

Prosecutors drop riot charges against Castile's cousin

Prosecutors say not enough evidence to get riot conviction