41 men and women blocked traffic on I-35 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during rush hour on July 13, 2016, to protest the police shooting of Philando Castile. They linked arms and held their ground for about an hour, chanting and singing, causing mass gridlock.
Castile, a school cook from St. Paul, was shot to death by a police officer. Castile’s girlfriend and her daughter were in the car with him — his girlfriend captured his last moments on video. Castile reportedly informed the officer he had a gun and a license to carry, but while reaching for his papers the officer opened fire. According to NBC News, the policeman thought Castile was a suspect in a robbery case.
State troopers arrested the protesters and put them on a city bus. No injuries were reported.
The “Coalition to Wake Your Ass Up,” the group responsible, released a statement after the protest, writing that
…this shut down reinforces our belief that comfort and business as usual must be disrupted until substantive changes occur in our city and throughout the country. We support community-led alternatives, solutions, and programs to protect our communities. On this day, we support the workers attempting to make a living but we also know that sacrifices must be made if we hope to live decently together.
The group is made up of whites and non-black people of color.
Black Lives Matter delivered the statement to the public on behalf of the coalition. Black Lives Matter Minneapolis spokesperson Oluchi Omeoga said, “Yeah, this is a slight inconvenience on your day, maybe 10, 15 minutes. Philando’s family is inconvenienced for the rest of their lives.”
The protest was reportedly inspired by similar highway shutdowns in St. Paul and other cities after the deaths of Castile and Alton Sterling last week.
The protesters are being charged with misdemeanors.