MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A heated city council meeting had people demanding the entire council resign, as well as the police chief, for what they believe to be racial bias problems.

The most prominent example was the shooting death of Philando Castile by then St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez last year, they told the council. Dozens packed the chambers to the point where people were standing or sitting on the floor.

The normal time limit of five minutes per person during the community forum was ignored, allowing people to speak freely. But their biggest concern is if the mayor, council and police chief are truly listening.

In a room where people could barely find a place to sit, Philando Castile’s friend John Thompson had an idea shared by many around him.

“We want them seats,” he said directly to the village officials in the front of the room. “We want you to stand up today and say you quit we want you to take your chief with you.”

John Thompson (credit: CBS)

Demanding a full resignation from Mayor Jerry Faust, council members and police chief Jon Mangseth was the main demand of the feverish crowd. They feel instances of racial bias, highlighted by Castile’s shooting death, haven’t been addressed.

“We want to know what the plans are to change policing practices that resulted in the death of Philando Castile — the racial profiling, the traffic stop and so on,” said Sheri Sherman.

Sherman, a St. Anthony resident, has been integral in rallying upset community members to demand change in the village.

“We decided we needed to come and have a show of force and ask questions, hard questions, and tell them that we are not satisfied,” she said.

Village officials watched intently as people gave passionate testimony. Some believe the closing of Lowry Grove — a mobile home park in town — is another example of city leaders targeting low income and minority residents. Sherman said residents were told they must leave by June 30.

“There’s been a pattern of mismanagement that exemplifies racism, sexism, classism and white privilege,” she said.

Sherman is one of the most vocal leaders in the movement, but worries the council isn’t listening to them. Still, she says that won’t stop their message from being heard.

“I ask you to remember Diamond Reynolds and her daughter tonight that this isn’t over,” another speaker said of Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend who was in the car with her daughter when Castile was shot. “You have more litigation before you.”

Many at the meeting also weren’t satisfied with the nearly $3 million settlement the city paid to Castile’s mother, Valerie — not because of the amount of money, but because they feel the payout is a reactive and not proactive way to fix the city’s problems.

“You killed my friend. you have blood on your hands sir,” Thompson said to the council. “You cannot pay enough money to bring my g– d— friend back to me.”

Comments (4)
  1. Did they check how many of them are actually residents in that town? Just something to think about.

  2. I grew up in St. Anthony, and all though I no longer live there I still support the police department. Sure what happened is unfortunate, But I do not hold any blame or hate for the officer that shot him. Mr. Castile had a record, drugs to traffic problems. The city council and the police are doing their jobs and they do it well! I sure hope that the people that call for change and say that they hate the police never need their help. Who are you going to call then? I hope that the people that feel the need to protest everything find a job and pay taxes like the rest of us!

  3. These protesters are a joke and most of them don’t live here. The cop was found innocent and I’m upset they paid the mother a death settlement when he was the cause of his own death. No reason for everyone to quit just because these non residents want it. Anyone check them for outstanding warrants?