Photos: a weekend of protests over Yanez acquittal

Posted by on June 19, 2017 4:24 pm
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Categories: Minnesota

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St. Paul Police estimated about 2,000 people at the Capitol Friday night.
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
St. Paul Police estimated about 2,000 people at the Capitol Friday night.

An emotional weekend of protests swept across the Twin Cities after a jury delivered a verdict last Friday that acquitted former St. Anthony Police officer Jeronimo Yanez on all counts for the fatal shooting of Philando Castile last summer.

On Friday, thousands rallied at the state Capitol in St. Paul to denounce the verdict that cleared Yanez of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a weapon. Police arrested 18 people that night, including two journalists, of the roughly 500 who marched onto I-94, blocking traffic in both directions.

On Saturday, more than a hundred demonstrators also marched down Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, while hundreds rallied at the St. Anthony Police Department on Sunday.

The demonstrations, in part, reflect a growing debate surrounding what many see as deteriorating police-community relations nationwide and particularly with communities of color. Many at the weekend’s demonstrations called for immediate police reform, and an overhaul of Minnesota’s government and criminal justice system.

“We’re going to continue taking a stand, taking to the streets, advocating, demanding justice, running for office, and becoming the powers that be,” said Minneapolis mayoral candidate Nekima Levy-Pounds to a crowd of about 150 Saturday night, “so we can shift the paradigm in this city, in this state and in this nation.”

An outlet to vent

The demonstrations also acted as an outlet for many grieving over the outcome of Yanez’s trial and for those who have felt personally wronged by police in the past. “They gave us a false sense of hope by charging [Yanez],” said John Thompson — a former co-worker and friend of Castile — to a crowd of more than 2,000 Friday night. “Ya’ll murdered my friend!”

“He was my homeboy, my brother,” said another demonstrator of Castile. “He slept at my mama’s house, ate food off my mama’s plates. It hurts, man. Because I can’t see my homeboy again. They just told me my homeboy died for nothing.”

Dozens spoke at open mics provided at demonstrations all weekend, with many expressing their pain surrounding personal encounters with police. And at Friday’s demonstrations, crisis counselors provided services on scene for those seeking consolation.

At Saturday’s rally, Minneapolis Ward 3 City Council candidate Samantha Pree-Stinson related Castile’s death to her own two school-aged boys. “Are you scared of them?” she asked the crowd. “How come at some point we become afraid of them?”

Mustafa Diriye, who’s from Somalia and now lives in St. Paul, told Saturday’s crowd that when he has children of his own, he plans to take them back to Somalia for fear of what might happen to them. “I’ll never allow my kids to be disrespected, to be killed here,” he said.

Cathy Jones, a longtime activist and now the campaign manager for Levy-Pounds, also addressed the crowd on Saturday, reminding everyone that Castile’s family was still grieving. “I’m tired, I’ve been marching,” she said, “but I can’t imagine how the Castile family must be feeling.”

Thousands gathered at the State Capitol Friday night to protest the verdict.
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Thousands gathered at the State Capitol Friday night to protest the verdict.
People comforting Castile's friend and co-worker John Thompson.
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
People comforting Castile’s friend and co-worker John Thompson.
Protesters holding a large photo of Philando Castile.
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Protesters holding a large photo of Philando Castile.
Black Lives Matter St. Paul activist Chauntyll Allen addressing Friday's crowd.
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Black Lives Matter St. Paul activist Chauntyll Allen addressing Friday’s crowd.
State Capitol protest
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
On Friday, thousands rallied at the state Capitol in St. Paul to denounce the verdict that cleared Yanez of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a weapon.
Demonstrators marched down University Avenue in St. Paul Friday night
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Demonstrators marched down University Avenue in St. Paul Friday night before about 500 of them marched onto I-94.
A protester leading a chant from the top of a car
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
A protester leading a chant from the top of a car as the march moved down University Avenue.
Demonstrators marching on the light rail tracks on University Avenue.
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Demonstrators marching on the light rail tracks on University Avenue.
A protester marching down University Avenue Friday night.
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
A protester marching down University Avenue Friday night.
Demonstrators gathered at Loring Park on Saturday
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Demonstrators gathered at Loring Park on Saturday, to tell stories and share how they were feeling before they marched down Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis.
Protesters join hands at Loring Park in a moment of silence
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Protesters join hands at Loring Park in a moment of silence to honor Castile and others who have been killed by police.
Protesters blocking an intersection on Hennepin Avenue
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Protesters blocking an intersection on Hennepin Avenue in front of the Basilica of St. Mary on Saturday.
Nekima Levy-Pounds
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Nekima Levy-Pounds, former Minneapolis NAACP President and current city mayoral candidate, spoke at demonstrations all weekend.
Demonstrators blocking a major transit hub on 5th and Hennepin
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Demonstrators blocking a major transit hub on 5th and Hennepin for several minutes, calling for onlookers to join them Saturday night.
Minneapolis city council candidate Samantha Pree-Stinson
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Minneapolis city council candidate Samantha Pree-Stinson calling on passersby to join the march Saturday night.
Protesters performed 'die-ins' at several intersections on Hennepin Avenue
MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Protesters performed ‘die-ins’ at several intersections on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis on Saturday night.

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