MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says he doesn’t think a police officer would have shot and killed a driver who apparently was pulled over for a broken taillight if the driver had been white instead of black.
Dayton is calling for a federal investigation into the death of Philando Castile.
“We’re shocked and horrified by what we heard last night,” Dayton said. “I will do everything in my power to make sure it’s investigated.”
Dayton said Thursday afternoon at a news conference in St. Paul that he thinks the police response was “way over” what was called for when the officer shot Castile several times as he sat in his car Wednesday in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights.
Dayton, a Democrat, says nobody should be killed for a broken taillight or while sitting in their car and that he was “deeply, deeply offended” by Castile’s death.
“The start treatment I find absolutely appalling,” Dayton said, “at all levels.”
Previously Thursday morning, Dayton called the shooting a “senseless tragedy,” as protesters assembled outside the Governor’s Mansion in St. Paul, calling for action.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and community of Philando Castile. Our state today grieves with them,” Dayton said. “Overnight, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension began an independent investigation at the state level. They are currently collecting all necessary evidence, and interviewing witnesses, to determine what happened, and to assure that justice in this case is served. I will do everything in my power to help protect the integrity of that investigation, to ensure a proper and just outcome for all involved.”
Federal officials said they would be monitoring the BCA’s investigation. Earlier in the day, FBI Director James Comey said he expects the FBI to be involved in the case.
The shooting happened late Wednesday during a traffic stop in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights. A woman shared alleged video of the aftermath of the shooting and shared it on Facebook, where it quickly went viral.
In the video, the woman describes being pulled over for a “busted tail light” and says her boyfriend had told the officer he was carrying a gun for which he was licensed. She says he was shot as he reached for his wallet.
Police did not release any details about the officer who fired except to say he had been placed on paid administrative leave.
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith also commented on Castile’s death: “I grieve for Philando Castile, his family, friends, and community, and especially the child, who was in the car with him. I pray for everyone touched by this tragedy, including our law enforcement officers.”
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