MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Counter-protesters are accused of causing a violent disruption at a lawful rally in support of President Donald Trump at the State Capitol.
The rally was on March 4.
On Friday, almost three months later, the Ramsey County Attorney and the St. Paul city attorney announced eight people have been charged with a crime.
The Ramsey County attorney charged two people with felonies in connection with using tear gas and rioting.
The St. Paul city attorney charged six more people with misdemeanors for charges like fleeing police and concealing their identities in a public place.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said the permitted rally in support of President Donald Trump was interrupted by some protesters who came to cause trouble.
“This unlawful group attempted to enter the rally from the second floor staircase by pushing, shoving and eventually employing smoke bombs, Mace, fireworks, thereby creating a dangerous situation,” Choi said.
Choi said some 400 people were at the rally and the chaotic and crowded scene is part of the reason it took months to gather enough evidence to bring forth charges against some individuals.
“There were multiple people who witnessed what happened and many of the perpetrators concealed their identities,” Choi said.
Among those Choi says committed crimes, Linwood Kaine, the son of former Democratic Party vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.
Linwood Kaine, 24, will have to appear in court to face misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor charges for fleeing on foot, concealing his identity and obstructing the legal process.
Choi said political leanings had nothing to do with the charging process; the First Amendment did.
“When people seek to prevent others who are peacefully assembled from making their voices heard it threatens the very foundation of our democracy,” Choi said.
There were more than a handful of people who were also apprehended by the State Patrol and other law enforcement on the day of the rally and later released.
The city and county would not comment on how many more people could face criminal charges but said this is an ongoing investigation.