Minnesota prosecutor says police
practices must change after shooting
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[July 09, 2016]
By David Bailey and Nick Carey
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Reuters) - A county
prosecutor investigating the police shooting of a black motorist in
Minnesota on Friday said law enforcement authorities in his state and
nationwide must improve practices and procedures to prevent future such
tragedies, regardless of the outcome of his probe.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said he had not decided yet whether his
office, or a grand jury, would determine if officers should be charged
in the fatal shooting on Wednesday night of Philando Castile, 32.
"We must do better, in our state and in our nation, to improve
police-community interactions to ensure the safety of everyone in this
country, but particularly the safety of African Americans, who
disproportionately lose their lives as a result," Choi said.
Choi's remarks came hours after five police officers were fatally shot
and seven wounded after a demonstration in Dallas over fatal shootings
by police in Minnesota and Louisiana.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on Thursday said he believed Castile
would be alive today if he were white and has asked the U.S. Justice
Department to investigate the shooting.
Thousands of people demonstrated on Thursday outside the governor's
residence, reacting to a live video Castile's girlfriend Diamond
Reynolds posted on the internet of the bloody scene after the shooting.
They continued on Friday.
Choi said Reynold's video will be part of the investigation. "It makes
you sad to watch all of that unfold. But again the public needs to
understand we have to have the total picture and that is what
investigators are looking at," he said.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez of the St. Anthony Police Department shot Castile
multiple times during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, a small St. Paul
suburb the department patrols, state authorities said. Yanez and his
partner, Officer Joseph Kauser, were placed on administrative leave.
A makeshift memorial of flowers, balloons, signs and chalk messages that
included "RIP Philando" has sprung up near where Castile was shot.
[to top of second column]
Diamond Reynolds weeps after she recounts the incidents that led to
the fatal shooting of her boyfriend Philando Castile by Minneapolis
area police during a traffic stop on Wednesday, at a "Black Lives
Matter" demonstration in front of the Governor's Mansion in St.
Paul, Minnesota. REUTERS/Eric Miller
Reynolds' video showed Yanez outside the car pointing a gun inward.
She could be heard saying Castile was shot after police pulled their
car over, citing a broken tail light. Authorities have not said why
police stopped the car.
Yanez's attorney Thomas Kelly declined to comment on Friday. The
labor union that represents the officer has urged people to reserve
Choi said use of deadly force is justified only when necessary to
protect the officer or another from death or great bodily harm. The
bar is higher for charging officers than other citizens, but their
actions have to be reasonable, he said.
(Reporting by David Bailey and Nick Carey; Editing by David
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