UPDATE: Louis’ charges have been dropped! See our recent blog post here, for details.
Do you know Louis Hunter’s name?
Last summer, Louis Hunter stood up against the police murder of his cousin, Philando Castile. Thousands protested, but only Louis faces serious felony charges in connection to the protests. Louis is fighting this injustice! He needs your support as he fights for his own freedom, for Philando, and for all black lives.
Louis is a loving father of four, a landscaper, and an active member of his church. When Philando was murdered, Louis rose in resistance along with thousands. He marched on I-94, demanding justice. And, like many that night, he chose to leave of his own accord rather than risk arrest.
During the protest, people channeled righteous anger in different ways. For some, this included throwing things at the riot police sent to repress the protest; this was not Louis. He demonstrated on the freeway, then went home without engaging the police physically. But with the police anxious to punish someone for the protest, it didn’t matter.
To Louis’ shock, police surrounded his vehicle and arrested him the following day. He was interrogated and charged with two counts of felony riot. They impounded his truck, leaving him unable to work. His family was evicted as a result.
While the media has reported sympathetic stories about the strain on Officer Yanez’s family as a result of his murder of Philando, they aren’t talking about the hardship Louis’ family faces merely because he attended a protest.
The allegations against Louis keep changing. First, a 911 caller claimed that someone getting out of Louis’ vehicle threw a molotov cocktail onto I-94; the caller was later unable to identify Louis in a photo line-up. So prosecutors dropped that claim, instead accusing him of wielding a board against police. Finding no footage to support this, they shifted again, to vague allegations of riotous behavior. The ‘evidence’ the prosecutors are relying on is police testimony, and even that is inconsistent – as the prosecutor himself has intimated in open court.
Louis was recently offered a deal: plead guilty to gross misdemeanor riot, to be sentenced as a misdemeanor. This apparently “generous offer” is the result of their weak case. But even though the system is designed to punish those who take their case to trial, even though he takes a serious risk, Louis refuses to plead guilty to something he didn’t do.
In pursuing these vindictive charges, Ramsey and Carver County authorities have heaped pain upon pain for the Castile and Hunter families. Even worse, Louis could be the only person to serve time as a result of Philando’s murder. While Officer Yanez walks free with blood on his hands, Louis faces ten years in prison for going to a protest.
These charges are an attempt to silence and punish dissent in response to a profound injustice. We must stand in solidarity with Louis!