The first three people to stand trial for shutting down Interstate 94 in St. Paul last year over the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. Adam Burch, Zachary Kolodziej and Elise Sommers pleaded guilty in Ramsey County District Court on Tuesday to unlawful assembly and public nuisance. Each was sentenced to a year of probation and fines and fees totaling $186. They were the first of 21 protesters charged in the July 9, 2016, demonstration to face trial.
The three said their actions were a necessary reaction to a system that unjustly targets people of color. More than 100 people were arrested at the protest, which followed the July 6, 2016, shooting death of Castile during a traffic stop. Castile’s girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath on Facebook.