Rioting charges thrown out

Published 9:43 am Thursday, January 12, 2017

ST. PAUL — A judge has thrown out riot charges against more than 40 people who were at an interstate protest in St. Paul over the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile.

About 300 demonstrators walked onto Interstate 94 last July and blocked traffic. Some threw rocks, bottles and other things at police officers. Authorities sayid16 officers were injured. Forty-six people were charged with third-degree riot, along with misdemeanor public nuisance and unlawful assembly.

The Star Tribune ( ) reports Ramsey County Judge G. Tony Atwal said Wednesday that there was no evidence the 46 defendants had thrown anything at police and that simply being at the protest doesn’t constitute rioting.

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Atwal added that evidence still exists to uphold the other charges of public nuisance and unlawful assembly. The freeway was closed for nearly five hours.