MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) board has voted to not change the name of a police training fund after Philando Castile.
Castile was fatally shot by former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop last summer. Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter charges earlier this summer.
State lawmakers approved $12 million in additional funding to further train police.
Castile’s family and Gov. Mark Dayton had called on the board to name the training fund in his honor as a show of rebuilding trust between law enforcement and different communities.
That will not happen, and some in the community and the Castile family are upset. Many gathered at the Governor’s Mansion in St. Paul Thursday evening to protest.
Nathan Gove, the executive director of the POST board, told WCCO Thursday that the board feels it should not be up to them to name the funds they oversee after individuals.
Valerie Castile, Philando Castile’s mother, called the decision “another slap in the face.”
“Obviously it was a decision I’m sure they thought long and hard on,” Gove said.
He says it was never the intention of the board to further divide
“The board has not named appropriations for the legislature,” Gove said. “We leave that to the legislature if they want to name funding sources.”
Gov. Dayton even appointed Philando Castile’s uncle, Clarence Castile, to the board. He was one of two people to vote in favor of changing the name, but eight other members voted it down.
“It’s not about taking sides. The board does not want to hurt peoples’ feelings and be divisive,” Gove said. “What we want to focus on is the work at hand.”
The work at hand includes using the $12 million for further training over the next five years for Minnesota’s 11,000 officers — training that is meant to help improve police and community relations.
“The licensing board, it seems to me, should stay away from sort of choosing what funds and appropriations should be named after,” he said. “There are always people who will say, ‘Why not name it after the 35W Bridge collapse or this law enforcement officer that’s been slain in the line of duty?'”
The board did acknowledge it has wanted additional funding for years, and that Castile’s death is really what prompted the legislature to allocate the funds to this cause of more training – which will include training for mental health crisis response, diversity, implicit bias and conflict de-escalation.