Dayton promises 'justice will be served' in police shooting of black man
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton promised protesters gathered after a second black man was killed by Twin Cities police in a year that there will be a thorough investigation.
"Justice will be served in Minnesota," he told hundreds of people gathered outside his official St. Paul home Thursday morning in the aftermath of a shooting of a 32-year-old black man by police 12 hours earlier.
Not all protesters liked what they heard, and some blamed him as the state's top official for not preventing shooting like the one Wednesday night of Philando Castile and last November of Jamar Clark.
"You have the power," one protester shouted as Dayton spoke.
"I agree that is kind of behavior is unacceptable," Dayton said, calling the shooting "a horrible, horrible tragedy."
Earlier, near where Dayton spoke, Castile's girlfriend told protesters and reporters that he was just reaching for his wallet when the officer fired four or five shots after a routine traffic stop.
"He was licensed to carry" a pistol, Diamond Reynolds said about her boyfriend, 32-year-old Philando Castile. "He was reaching for his wallet in his back pocket. ... The police took four or five shots at him for no reason."
Through heavy tears, Reynolds told protesters and reporters in front of the governor's residence Thursday morning: "I want justice. ... The police took an innocent man away from us."
Castile died at 9:37 p.m. Wednesday, The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office reported, a little more than a half-hour after his car was stopped.
(NOTE: GRAPHIC VIDEO) https://www.facebook.com/100007611243538/videos/1690073837922975/
Dayton asked for a federal investigation.
"This morning, I spoke by phone with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to request that the U.S. Department of Justice begin an immediate independent federal investigation into this matter," Dayton said in a statement.
McDonough is a Stillwater, Minn., native.
The governor also said the state has begun an investigation.
“Overnight, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension began an independent investigation at the state level," Dayton said. "They are currently collecting all necessary evidence, and interviewing witnesses, to determine what happened, and to assure that justice in this case is served."
Reynolds live-streamed a video on Facebook moments after the shooting, showing Castile's white T-shirt covered in blood and saying that she and her 4-year-old daughter were in the car. A police officer held a gun pointed at Castile in the video.
Another video from across the street showed police officers attempting to revive the victim after he was removed from the car.
The shooting happened near the state fairgrounds by a St. Anthony officer. St. Anthony provides police coverage for Falcon Heights, which is just north of St. Paul.
St. Anthony police provided few details about what led to the shooting, which drew a large crowd at the scene and later outside the governor’s residence in St. Paul. About 3 a.m. Thursday, people leaned on car horns outside the Summit Avenue residence and shouted, "Wake them up. Wake them up." Gov. Mark Dayton was at the residence at the time.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, who represents the area where Castile was shot, called for a federal investigation.
The Justice Department said it was aware of the incident and was assessing the situation. It did not say if it would start a formal investigation into whether excessive force was used.
Protesters went to the governor's residence after police closed their on-scene investigation of the death at about 2 a.m. Thursday and the crowd continued to build during the morning. Police closed off Summit Avenue in front of the residence, where some of St. Paul's most expensive homes are located.
Reynolds talked on Summit Avenue less than 12 hours after the shooting.
"The police did this to me and did this to my daughter," she said.
She also claimed that "the police officer stopped us for a busted tail light that was not busted."
In the video shot right after the shooting, an agitated officer shouted, "I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand out."
"You told him to get his ID, sir, and his driver’s license," Reynolds said. "Oh, my God, please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that."
Castile's mother expressed shock. "I never once in my life would have thought that my son would be killed by the persons that were supposed to protect and serve him," Valerie Castile said on CNN.
Valerie Castile described her son as a "laid back" but industrious man who worked as a St. Paul school cafeteria supervisor and enjoyed playing video games.
The Falcon Heights shooting in the second of a black man by Twin Cities police in recent months.
In November, a white Minneapolis police officer shot and killed 24-year-old Jamar Clark, setting off weeks of protests that included a lengthy stay at a branch police station and several marches through Minneapolis.
In June, Hennepin County prosecutors said they would not file charges against officers in the Clark shooting.
Interim St. Anthony Police Chief Jon Mangseth said at a 2 a.m. Thursday news conference that a St. Anthony police officer initiated a traffic stop about 9 p.m.
"During the stop, shots were fired," Mangseth said. "One adult male was taken to the hospital. We have been informed that this individual is deceased. No one else was injured. ... A handgun was recovered from the scene."
This story contains material from Reuters news service and the St. Paul Pioneer Press, a Forum News Service media partner.