By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A man accused of throwing rocks and construction debris at officers during a protest Saturday night is Philando Castile’s cousin.

Louise Hunter is charged with two counts of felony rioting. Twenty-one officers were injured during the overnight protests that shut down Interstate 94 and turned violent when people started throwing things at officers.

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Another 46 other people charged in the case are facing gross misdemeanor charges. His attorneys argued he be released from jail so he could attend his cousin’s funeral later this week.

(credit: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office)

(credit: Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

A judge agreed to release Hunter, but under supervision of a court-ordered monitoring program pending the outcome of this case.

“I never did anything,” Hunter said after he was released. “I am innocent, they took me — I don’t know why they took me.”

Hunter said he was at the protest Saturday night after attending a candlelight vigil for Philando Castile, his second cousin.

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“My cousin was the most peaceful dude. He never harmed anyone,” Hunter said. “You could go punch him and he’s not gonna do anything but laugh.”

Court documents say on the night of the protest, a witness called 911 to report a man throwing what looked like Molotv cocktails at Police and yelling, “I am going to show these (expletive) cops.” The 911 caller called a license place in for the car. The next day, police pulled the car over. Officers had shot green dye at some of the protesters the night berfore, and police say Hunter had green dye on his thigh when police pulled him over.

An Officer who had fired the green dye identified Hunter as the protester who was carrying a five-foot long two-by-four during the protest. Hunter says that is not true, and that he and his cousin Philando are victims of racial profiling.

“I never did nothing. They can’t pick me out of nothing. I never did anything,” he said.

While that officer did identify Hunter from the protest, the original 911 caller was not able to pick Hunter out of a lineup.

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If convicted on both counts, Hunter faces up to 20 years in prison. His next court appearance is next month.

Esme Murphy