Over 100 arrested, 21 officers hurt after St. Paul protests

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A protester is arrested.
A protester who had marched down Grand Ave. is arrested early Sunday morning in St. Paul.
Christopher Juhn for MPR News

Updated: 3:06 p.m. | Posted: 8:41 a.m.

More than 100 people protesting the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile were arrested in St. Paul late Saturday and early Sunday, police said.

Fifty of the arrests for third-degree riot stemmed from the demonstration that blocked Interstate 94 in both directions for several hours. At least eight of the 50 arrested were from out of state, according to the State Patrol.

Another 52 were arrested by St. Paul Police in connection with public nuisance and unlawful assembly around 4 a.m. on Grand Avenue.

At least 21 officers were hurt after being hit by rocks, firecrackers and bottles thrown by protesters, though none suffered serious injuries.

At a news conference Sunday morning, St. Paul police Chief Todd Axtell called Saturday night the most violent he's seen in his 28-year career.

A damaged police badge
Police say the rock at left hit an officer with such force on Saturday, July 9, 2016, that it damaged the officer's metal badge, center. The badge at right was also dented by an object thrown at an officer.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

The chief said "it's really a disgrace. And protesters last night turned into criminals. And I'm absolutely disgusted by the acts of some. Not all, but some."

Mayor Chris Coleman, also speaking at the news conference, denounced the "shameful violence."

"This is not about grief. This is not about protest. This about rioting. This is about violence," Coleman said.

Black Lives Matter condemned any and all violence that occurred throughout the evening. On social media, leaders blamed outside agitators for the danger posed by the violence during the freeway incident.

The protests and arrests capped off a day of rallies and marches for racial justice, which came after a week of violence.

Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds on Facebook Sunday encouraged supporters to join a solidarity march and rally at 2 p.m. at the St. Anthony Police Department in honor of Philando Castile.

On Wednesday, police fatally shot Philando Castile at a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, and a drive-by shooting Friday in north Minneapolis claimed the life of a 2-year-old boy and put a 15-month-old girl in the hospital. And outside Minnesota, there was the police killing of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and the slaying of five police officers in Dallas at a protest.

Watch the press conference

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