MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says that Philando Castile was the 123rd black person to be killed by law enforcement in the United States this year.
Charles Samuelson, the executive director of the ACLU in Minnesota, said in a statement Thursday that there “is a better way to police, an approach that doesn’t leave us with disproportionately high numbers of people of color injured and dead.”
He called for the investigation into Castile’s death to be done by an independent entity other than the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
“We do not believe that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is that independent entity because the recent history of the BCA suggests that it is incapable of conducting a thorough and objective investigation into this tragic event,” Samuelson said.
The BCA was the agency that investigated the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark in north Minneapolis last November. In March, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office declined to seek charges against the two officers involved in that case.
Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday that the BCA has already started its investigation into Castile’s death. While the governor called earlier for another investigation to be done by the U.S. Department of Justice, he clarified in an afternoon press conference that federal authorities will, for the time being, monitor the BCA’s investigation.
Castile was fatally shot late Wednesday night by a police officer in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, while his girlfriend and her child were in the car.
Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, captured the aftermath of the shooting in a Facebook Live video, in which she says the officer had shot her boyfriend “for no apparent reason.” She added that Castile told the officer he was armed and was reaching for his wallet and registration when the officer shot him four times.
The video spread rapidly on social media, sparking outrage. The ACLU praised Reynolds for her courage in posting the grim moments after the shooting to Facebook.
Castile, of St. Paul, was a cafeteria worker at J.J. Hill Montessori School. He was 32.