MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice says it is monitoring the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s investigation into the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile.
In a statement Thursday, the spokesperson said the Justice Department will independently assess what further action may be warranted in the case and assist the BCA if needed.
Earlier in the day, Gov. Mark Dayton called for the Justice Department to do an independent investigation into the shooting, but, at an afternoon press conference, the governor clarified that the Justice Department’s role in the case will be to follow the BCA in the investigation unless circumstances prompt them to take the lead.
This is different than what is happening following the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There, the Justice Department is taking on the investigation in a move to keep tensions from boiling over.
Already, some in Minnesota are upset that the Justice Department, or another agency, isn’t being tapped to investigate Castile’s death.
The Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union released a statement saying that the BCA should not be the entity at the head of the investigation, adding that it’s proven recently it can’t be trusted to do a thorough and objective investigation.
Last year, the BCA headed the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark in north Minneapolis. In March, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office declined to pursue charges against the two officers involved.
Castile, 32, died late Wednesday night after he was shot in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, while in a car with his girlfriend and her child. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live, showing her boyfriend bloodied and slumped over in his seat.
In the broadcast, she said that Castile told the officer he had a permit to carry a firearm and was armed. She said the officer shot Castile four times as he reached to get his driver’s license.