"They got free rein to keep killing us anyway they want," Valerie Castile said Friday night as protesters took to the streets of St. Paul, shutting down a freeway, after a Minnesota officer was acquitted in the killing of her son, Philando Castile, the Star Tribune reports. According to CNN, an estimated 2,000 people marched through St. Paul following the verdict, holding signs that read "this hurts" and "Justice not served for Philando" while chanting and singing hymns. Approximately 500 protesters entered I-94, closing both directions of the freeway to traffic, around 10:50pm, WCCO reports. The State Patrol quickly gave orders to disperse and started arresting people around 12:30am Saturday. Eighteen people, including two journalists, were arrested.
A jury found Jeronimo Yanez not guilty of manslaughter for shooting the 32-year-old Castile, who was black, five times during a traffic stop for a broken brake light in July. Castile was killed while in a car with his girlfriend and 4-year-old daughter, and his death was livestreamed on Facebook. Castile was carrying a gun when he was stopped, something he was permitted to do, and told Yanez he was armed. Yanez says Castile reached for the gun; Castile's girlfriend says he was reaching for his driver's license as instructed. Yanez was let go by the St. Anthony Police Department following the verdict. "My son loved this city and this city killed my son," the Star Tribune quotes Valerie Castile as saying. "And the murderer gets away." (Read more Philando Castile stories.)