MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A proposal to name a police training fund after Philando Castile will come to a vote in front of the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) board Thursday.
Funding for the bill was passed by lawmakers with bipartisan support, but Castile’s mother and uncle say it’s disappointing that some members of law enforcement don’t want the fund named after him.
Leadership of both the Minneapolis and St. Paul police unions are against the training funds carrying Castile’s name.
“It will be in remembrance of what happened, and what we don’t want to happen again,” said Castile’s uncle, Clarence Castile.
He feels strongly about the funds used to train officers in the state being named after his nephew, who was fatally shot by former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop last summer. Earlier this year, Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter charges.
“For years, they have been asking for funding — denied, denied, denied — and, all of sudden, they get the funding, and they don’t want to recognize how they got the funding, and recognition is putting Phil’s name on that fund,” Clarence Castile said.
He was appointed to sit on the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board by Gov. Mark Dayton. Moreover, it was the governor who recommended the fund carry Philando Castile’s name.
Even so, Clarence Castile says he’s heard from many retired and present officers who are opposed to the idea.
“You got the Jacob Wetterling bill, you got the Amber alert bill, why not the Philando Castile bill to help improve relationships with everyone?” asked Philando Castile’s mother, Valerie. “We’re not talking about one side. This is about humanity, people of the world, everybody is being killed by the police.”
She says naming the fund after her son is the olive branch that law enforcement needs to show good faith to the people of Minnesota.
Last week, Valerie Castile spent time with Don Damond, the fiancé of Justine Damond, who was recently shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor.
She’s also spoken to the mothers of Jamar Clark and Chad Robertson. She says all want better training for police.
“These were two wonderful individuals, caring individuals, who were dedicated to their job, who loved their community, and were pillars of their communities, and they both were killed by the police,” Valerie Castile said.
The state of Arizona says it was inspired by the Castile case to update its driver’s manual to include instructions to help armed drivers avoid confrontations with police. Castile had told Yanez he had a license to carry a firearm moments before he was shot multiple times.
Valerie Castile says Minnesota should have been the first state to do something following her son’s death.