Officers Injured By Cinder Blocks, Fireworks, and Bottles As Black Lives Matter Protest Turns Violent In St. Paul

Both directions of Interstate 94 in St. Paul are closed the night of Saturday, July 9. 2016, by a large group protesting the police shooting of Philando Castile. (Pioneer Press: Andy Rathbun)

Protests have a way of getting very out of hand, very quickly. The officers of the St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota got a first hand look at how fast things can go south.

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During a Black Lives Matter protest, hundreds of protestors blocked off Interstate 94 on Saturday night. What unfolded resulted in a clash between protestors and police, with police walking away with injuries due to protestors throwing rocks, rebar, fireworks, glass bottles, and more at police.

The St. Paul PD Twitter account described what happened in real time.

As you can see, the protest began rather peacefully with police offering the protestors media exposure with symbolic arrests. However, protestors continued to block traffic on the Interstate.

At this point, the protestors began to get rowdy.

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And it only continued to get worse.

Officers attempted to mark the aggressors who were injuring officers.

Despite their best efforts, officers were being hurt.

At this point, officers became concerned about the children involved in the protest, and worked to get them away from it.

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After managing to send the children away, officers continued having rocks, bottles, and rebar thrown at them, and the injuries continued to climb despite officers making arrests.

And things only escalated.

After the dust settled, St Paul PD took stock of the night.

One officers in particular suffered a very serious injury.

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According to Black Lives Matter leader, Lena Gardner, this protest had no intention of turning violent, and that the aggressors were outside agitators. 

“Black Lives Matter in Minneapolis has been and always will be committed to nonviolent protest,” said Gardner. “We’ve taken that position from the get-go and we have never wavered from it. And we don’t know.” 

Despite this protest’s intention to be peaceful, Mayor Chris Coleman described the protest as a riot. 

“Up to the point where people were peaceful – up to the point where they were sitting on the freeway, they may have been unlawfully assembling, but they weren’t rioting,” said Coleman. “The minute that brick was thrown, the minute the fireworks were thrown towards the police officer, that’s a riot.”

Let’s hope the officer injured makes a speedy recovery, and the tensions in St. Paul simmer down so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. 

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