In a news conference Thursday, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton answered questions about the Philando Castile shooting.
Late Wednesday, a Minnesota police officer shot 32-year-old Philando Castile, who is black, during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds began filming the aftermath of the encounter from the car in this suburb of St. Paul, with her bloodied boyfriend at her side. Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter was also in the car.
“Stay with me,” Reynolds says to Castile at the start of her Facebook Live video, before briefly revealing her boyfriend slumped in his seat, moaning and shouting expletives and his shirt red from blood.
Facing the cameraphone to herself, she says that the officer stopped the car for a broken tail light and that Castile was licensed to carry a gun.
The St. Anthony Police Department confirmed Thursday morning that Castile died from the “officer-involved shooting” and that a handgun was recovered at the scene. St. Anthony Interim Police Chief John Mangseth did not identify the officer involved in the fatal shooting. Mangseth said the officer was put on paid administrative leave.
A family member confirmed to The Washington Post that Castile later died at a Minneapolis hospital.
Cell phone footage shows the moments after an unidentified officer shot Philando Castile late Wednesday. WARNING: Video contains graphic footage. Viewer discretion is advised. Video by Lavish Reynolds
In a news conference Thursday, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he was “deeply, deeply offended” by the Castile’s death, adding that race played a role in the incident.
“Would this have happened if the driver and passengers were white? I don’t think it would have,” the Democratic governor told reporters. “All of us in Minnesota are forced to confront [that] this kind of racism exists and that’s incumbent upon all of us to vow that we’re going to do whatever we can to see that it doesn’t continue to happen,” he said.
Video by PBS NewsHour
“He killed my boyfriend,” Reynolds, known as Lavish Reynolds on Facebook, said in the video.
“I told him not to reach for it!” the officer is heard yelling on the video. “I told him to get his hands up.”
“You told him to get his ID, sir, his driver’s license,” Reynolds said. “Oh my god. Please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.”
Valerie Castile, Philando’s mother, told CNN’s “New Day” that her son was a “laid back, quiet individual that works hard every day, pays taxes and comes home and plays video games. That’s it.”
Valerie said she knew Philando wouldn’t “antagonize that officer in any way to make him feel like his life was threatened,” partly because she emphasized her son to “comply, comply, comply” whenever he encountered the police.
— New Day (@NewDay) July 7, 2016
Early Thursday morning, protesters gathered outside the governor’s mansion in St. Paul, shouting “No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police” and “Wake up.”
— Leila Navidi (@LeilaNavidi) July 7, 2016
— Tony Webster (@webster) July 7, 2016
Later that morning, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton addressed the crowd outside the mansion, calling the police shooting a “senseless tragedy.”
The governor said the state will conduct its independent investigation and that he urged the Justice Department to open its own probe into the incident.
“Justice will be served in Minnesota,” he said twice to the crowd.
The incident comes almost two days after cell phone footage surfaced of another police shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A police officer shot and killed 37-year-old Alton Sterling after officers responded to a disturbance call outside a convenience store.
The Falcon Heights shooting happened the same day Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division opened an investigation into Sterling’s death.
A Justice Department spokesman told NPR that they were “aware of the incident” and “assessing the situation.”
President Barack Obama took to Facebook to comment on both police shootings, saying that “all Americans should be deeply troubled” by them.
“[W]hat’s clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents,” the president wrote. “They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.”
“To admit we’ve got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day,” he said. “It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement.”