A man who narrowly avoided prosecution for protesting Philando Castile’s killing by police and did lose his home and business after being charged is now one of three people trying to start a vegan restaurant in Minneapolis.
Louis Hunter was charged with two felony counts of rioting for his participation in the sometimes-violent protest that shut down Interstate 94. He was the only protester to face such significant charges, but there was no evidence that he had thrown rocks at police officers, as he had been accused.
Demonstrators rallied outside the Ramsey County courthouse to demand that the charges against him be dismissed.
The charges were dropped, but not before Hunter was evicted from his apartment in St. Louis Park and the truck he used for his landscaping business was confiscated.
One of the people who rallied behind Hunter during the ordeal was Sarah Woodcock. She and her husband, Dan Woodcock, became close friends with Hunter. Now they are business partners, raising money to establish a brick-and-mortar vegan restaurant in Minneapolis called Trio.
“I’m one of the owners, and it’s crazy that this is happening,” Hunter said. “A year ago my life was in shambles. I was facing 20 years.”
The Woodcocks and Hunter have thrown three sold-out pop-up dinners. The Kickstarter campaign to start a restaurant lasts until Monday and has already raised $32,000 of the $50,000 goal.
Hunter, a father of four daughters, now lives in south Minneapolis. He’s cut beef out of his diet but said he’s still working on chicken and seafood. He said he’ll help manage the restaurant and use his position to give other people who need it an opportunity for work.
“Trio showed me how real God was. A year ago, when I met Sarah and Dan, I didn’t know where my life was going to end up at,” Hunter said. “Trio means the world to me.”