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I-94 protester charged with 2nd degree riot for throwing rocks at cops

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A 37-year-old man has become the only person charged with a felony following the clashes between protesters and police on Interstate 94.

The Ramsey County Attorney on Tuesday charged Louis Bernard Hunter, of St. Louis Park, with two counts of 2nd degree riot for his alleged role in Saturday's demonstration over the death of Philando Castile.

According to the criminal complaint, Hunter was at the protest on I-94 where he was allegedly "throwing large rocks and construction debris" at officers, and was observed carrying a six-foot long 2x4 around in the crowd.

An officer hit Hunter with a green marking round using a "less lethal launcher" that struck the white pants he was wearing on the right leg.

He was found by police on Sunday, who located him by his car, and found he was still wearing the white pants with green paint on them. He was later identified by the officer who hit him with the marking round.

The reason they found him by his car was because of a call made earlier that night by a witness who said they saw someone resembling Hunter throwing molotov cocktails over a fence separating St. Anthony Ave. from I-94, which were aimed at police.

The witness said the man, who was wearing a red shirt and white pants, and another male threw the explosives, claiming they heard Hunter say: "I'm going to show these [expletive] cops."

But, this witness was later unable to pick Hunter out of the lineup, and police didn't find any evidence that molotov cocktails had been thrown in the area in question.

In total, 46 adults were arrested by state troopers during the I-94 protest and were charged with 3rd degree riot, a gross misdemeanor carrying a maximum of 1 year in jail.

Hunter's charge however is a felony, carrying a maximum 5 years in prison and $10,000 fine.

Violent protesters 'not part of Black Lives Matter'

Authorities say 27 officers were injured during the protests on Saturday, one of them suffering a spinal compression injury when a concrete block was dropped on his head.

MPR wrote this piece on Monday suggesting that many of the people responsible for the violence at I-94 on Saturday were not necessarily part of the Black Lives Matter movement that organized the shutdown.

BLM leaders and witnesses at the protest told the news organization the clashes started "with just a few people who don't represent the movement," with local pastor Darryl Spence saying: "I did not see the normal Black Lives Matter people. I saw people with masks on.

"They had gas masks, real gas masks. I was in the Air Force. I know what a gas mask. I was like, 'Where did they get this stuff from?'"

Pioneer Press reporter Fred Melo said that much of the trouble started after BLM leaders left the freeway to march on the Governor's Residence.

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