ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — After a violent night of protests that spilled onto Interstate 94, it was much quieter Sunday night in St. Paul.
Dozens still gathered at the Governor’s Mansion to rally around Philando Castile, sharing the microphones and their stories of what they’ve been through. People were also talking about the protest last night on the interstate. We got more perspective of what it was like on the ground.
Rocks being thrown at officers along with construction rebar, fireworks and even concrete. Those are the images many woke up to. Commander Steve Frazer saw it through his own eyes.
“Last night was intense and more dangerous than anything I’ve ever been in in almost 26 years,” Frazer said.
Officers and protesters agree it started peacefully. Protesters were trying to get people to reflect on the life and loss of Philando Castile.
“We’re peaceful protestors. I want to make it very, very clear that we peacefully protest, we do not advocate for violence, we will not tolerate violence,” Turner, who leads Black Lives Matter St. Paul, said.
Turner helped organize the protest, but he believes the people who turned to violence were not with his group.
“The people that were throwing rock I didn’t recognize,” he said.
Turner and police tried to stop the people with rocks, rebar and Molotov cocktails as the situation peaked in intensity.
“Tons of fear, absolutely we were surrounded and outnumbered by a very violent and hostile crowd,” Frazer said.
Protestors, one night later, peacefully reunited saying a small group of outsiders made the wrong impression.
“People at home – this is not how things go down and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Turner said.
The St. Paul Police Department was back on duty Sunday night, patrolling the area around the Governor’s mansion where protesters are gathering. We’re told injuries in Saturday night’s protest were not life-threatening but serious.
An officer suffered broken vertebrae, and another has a dislocated shoulder. One thing everyone seems to agree on: They want things to stay peaceful as they are tonight.