Vigil for Philando Castile Brings Over 4k People – 2nd Night of Occupying Governor’s Mansion

St. Paul, MN – After St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Philando Castile in Falcon Heights on Wednesday evening, protesters rallied at the Governor’s Mansion in St Paul around 2 a.m. on Thursday morning.

The second day of protests continued throughout the night as community members stayed in front of Gov. Dayton’s mansion. Unicorn Riot has been tracking events closely and interviewing participants on live video.

Things heated up around 1 a.m. Friday morning (video below).

However, Thursday evening started on a somber, but celebratory note with a massive crowd of St. Paul Public School workers, community members, friends, family, and supporters holding a vigil at 5:30 p.m. The vigil was held at the JJ Hill Montessori school, where Castile supervised the cafeteria.

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The emotional vigil featured several family members of Phil, including, but not limited to, his mother, his sister, his cousins, and his fiance who witnessed and livestreamed Phil’s last moments after he was shot 4 times by police officer Jeronimo Yanez.

Philando’s co-workers drew tears while telling stories of how much of a great man Phil was, how he loved children and was so great with them. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, clergy, and other speakers gave fiery speeches about justice.

At the conclusion of the vigil, Phil’s family led the march of around 4,500 people from JJ Hill Montessori School to the Governor’s Mansion.

Not long after the masses arrived at Governor Dayton’s mansion, he came out of his mansion to speak to the press by his side gate. His people called Philando Castile’s family over to them, to which his family replied, “if he wants to speak to us, he needs to come here.

Governor Dayton walked over to the front gate to speak to Philando’s family after giving a few moments to the press that amassed at his side gate.

The governor apologized and listened to Philando’s mother speak to him for over 2 minutes while holding her hand. She demanded that he create some justice for Philando.

Governor Dayton spoke with Phil’s fiance, Diamond Reynolds for a brief time. When Unicorn Riot asked Diamond how she felt about the governor talking to her, she stated, “I have no feeling about it“.

The community chanted “no justice, no peace, prosecute the police” during most the five minutes or so that the governor was outside. Governor Dayton went back into his mansion after not answering any questions asked.

The massive crowd of protesters vowed to occupy the mansion until they get justice for Philando.

As night fell, the crowd thinned out. Around 1 a.m. some more community members arrived saying they didn’t want any press.

This group of 15-25 community members and friends of Philando, mostly masked-up, were fed-up with the pacification of anger by the ‘activists and organizers’. They confronted police in their cars on Oxford and Summit Avenues, prompting the police to drive away. To view this, watch here (around the 33:15 – 36:20 mark).

The attention then was focused on an empty police car that suffered some lashes of anger from the community. The vandalized car gave reason for a line of riot cops to approach the protesters. The police pointed their crowd control weapons at the protesters which backed the crowd up enough to get their car out and then they retreated.

Confrontations continued as the crowd moved to the upscale Grand Ave. saying “let’s go fuck Grand up…fuck these rich people!” Almost immediately police were shining lights as a few rocks were thrown and a window of a jewelry store was broken.


These actions caused the St. Paul police to unload the riot squad again and start firing rubber bullets into the crowd, as well as using chemical spray.

A standoff ensued for over an hour. The community chanted, linked arms, sang, and tossed a few water bottles, apples, and insults at the police. The police reacted with brandishing an array of firepower, shooting what sounded to be rubber bullets, threats of “riot munitions to clear the block”, shining flashlights, and making one arrest.

The arrest-tee was the same person who was sprayed with chemical irritant. He also had a mask on most of the night and was walking with a camera. The explanation for his arrest by St. Paul officer Joshua Lego was that he was ‘sprayed with chemical irritants, we all saw it, and he was arrested’. Video of arrest is in tweet below:

At 2:50ish in the morning, the police on the front-line had a shift change and left the intersection of Summit and Oxford to go check out of work.

The night ended with a dozen or so community members sleeping and mingling in front of the governors mansion.

Thursday evening also saw the release of the name of the officer who murdered Philando:

There were other actions throughout the day on Thursday in various locations, including light rail shutdowns by protesters in St. Paul, protests at the St. Anthony Community Center, and a gathering for justice for Philando on Snelling Ave. and University Ave.

Protests have swept several US cities. Unicorn Riot contributors Elisabeth Epps and Sole have been covering Denver protests, here is Periscope footage from Denver.

Below are some pictures from the 2nd night/morning of the Philando Castile protests.

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Video stills from today’s events (Creative Commons Noncommercial with Attribution)

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Unicorn Riot coverage of Philando Castile's Killing by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez:
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