ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Governor Dayton releases statement following the shut-down of I-94:
“The occupation and shutting down of Interstate 94 last night were unlawful and extremely dangerous. Twenty-one law enforcement officers were injured by rocks and other projectiles thrown at them by some of the protesters.
“I am deeply grateful for the heroic efforts of those men and women, who put themselves in harm’s way last night to protect the safety of all Minnesotans. I thank them for their professionalism and persistent attempts to resolve the situation peacefully.
“I also thank the leaders, who were doing their utmost to stop this very dangerous escalation. Until then, the protests of the last few days have been lawful and peaceful. I thank everyone, who has shown restraint and tolerance.
“Again, I urge all Minnesotans to remain calm and peaceful during this very difficult time. I urge everyone exercising their First Amendment rights to do so lawfully and without endangering themselves or others."
Statement from Lt. Governor Tina Smith:
“The many police officers, State Troopers, and Sheriff’s deputies who worked throughout the night to keep people safe deserve our gratitude and respect. Their professionalism, courage, and commitment to ensuring the safety of everyone involved were crucial in resolving a very dangerous situation.
“Like the Governor, I thank the many protestors who have peacefully exercised their rights to free speech and assembly, with respect for the safety of others. I urge all Minnesotans who wish to express themselves to exercise this respect and restraint.
“Minnesota can and will be better. But it will take each of us working together in mutual trust and respect to create the change we want to achieve.”
Statement from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar:
"Last night 21 St. Paul police officers were injured. As I said earlier today after speaking at Pilgrim Baptist Church, this is completely unacceptable.
There have been many peaceful protests over the last few days in the wake of Philando Castile's death. That is a crucial part of our democracy and a way to bring about change. The actions on Highway 94 were far from a peaceful protest.
I have called for a thorough investigation of Castile's death and continue to believe we need reforms to our criminal justice system.
But I hope all Minnesotans will unify behind one simple principle: We cannot achieve justice through injustice."
U.S. Senator Al Franken also released a statement in regards to the violent protests:
“The attacks last night on state and local law enforcement that left 21 officers injured were completely unacceptable, do not advance the cause of justice, and make it more difficult for our communities to begin the long and difficult healing process. I share the pain and heartache that Minnesotans are feeling following the tragic death of Philando Castile. And I believe that a full and fair investigation of his death is a necessary first step to securing justice for Philando, his family, and his loved ones. But as we all await the results of that investigation, I ask all Minnesotans calling for change to honor his memory through peaceful protest, and to resist the temptation to engage in violence.”
Valerie Castile, Philando's mother, released a statement in reaction as well:
“On behalf of myself and our entire family, we urge all people to remain peaceful in all demonstrations throughout our community and our nation. When demonstrations become violent, it disrespects my son and his memory. Philando was a man of peace and dignity. Please, I ask you to at all times remain peaceful in your expressions of concern regarding his death at the hands of the police. I promise that we will not rest until justice prevails.”
READ MORE: Protest shuts down I-94