Yanez trial verdict protesters block I-94 in St. Paul, troopers arrest 18
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - A protest of the Officer Jeronimo Yanez trial verdict, which started at the Minnesota State Capitol, ended with 18 arrests on I-94 in St. Paul.
State Patrol officials say at 10:23 p.m. about 1,500 people went on the freeway at Dale St, blocking eastbound and westbound traffic. The freeway was shut down for more than three hours. Officials say the protest remained peaceful.
The arrested protesters will be booked at Ramsey County Jail. Charges for being a pedestrian on the freeway, among other charges, are pending.
Friday afternoon, the jury found Yanez not guilty on all counts in the shooting death of Philando Castile.
At 7 p.m., protesters gathered on the steps of the Capitol. Organizers of the protest called the verdict "unacceptable" and called on the community to rally to "demand justice." At 8:30 p.m., the group departed the Capitol for a march down University Avenue. Protesters carried signs saying "Philando Forever" and "The World is Watching."
At 9 p.m., St. Paul police estimated a crowd of about 1,500 people was blocking both sides of University Avenue at Western Avenue. By 9:40 p.m., the crowd turned onto Victoria Street and had grown to an estimated 2,000 people.
At 10:24 p.m. protesters got on I-94 at Dale Street, blocking both the east bound and west bound lanes of traffic.
St. Paul police closed the freeway from Lexington Ave and Marion St.
State Patrol officials say the detours are eastbound 94 to 280 and westbound 94 traffic to 35 E.
Soon after 11 p.m., officers gave the estimated 500 protesters a dispersal order. State Patrol officials say they gave the crowd three warnings to leave the freeway.
The crowd on the freeway dwindled over the course of an hour.
By midnight, the protesters were contained to the eastbound off ramp to Marion.
At 12:30 a.m., police arrested a 18 protesters. Charges are pending.
Star Tribune employee Liz Sawyer says her colleague Susan Du of City Pages was among those arrested.
Mike Hendrickson, editor-in-chief of the Minnesota Daily News, says a reporter of the student-run paper was also arrested. Reporter David Clarey was recording the protest on his phone when he was arrested.
State Patrol reopened both lanes of the freeway around 1:40 a.m.
Police say a small amount of protesters spray painted a building on University during the march.
LIGHT RAIL IMPACT
The protest caused Metro Transit to stop trains on the Green Line east from the Snelling Ave station for about one hour.
RELATED: VERDICT: Officer Jeronimo Yanez found not guilty in shooting of Philando Castile