On the first anniversary of the shooting death of Philando Castile by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton marked the day by recommending the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Board name a new $12 million training fund after Castile. While there was no justice served for the family of Castile with the acquittal of officer Yanez, there is hope that the multi million dollar training fund will change the way policing is carried out in diverse communities.
But not everyone is on board with the move- several major police unions have taken the governor’s request as a slap in the face to officers and as a betrayal for not standing in solidarity with law enforcement. Instead of tackling the matter straight on and looking to improve the way they work, creating safer spaces for both officers and civilians the unions chose to ignore the problem and their comments indicate are happy to carry on as they always have, as long as they can get away with murder with impunity.
As reported by MPR News:
The fund is aimed at helping provide training opportunities for law enforcement officials working with diverse communities. The money was approved by the Legislature earlier this year.
A letter from the governor requesting the change noted he was following the recommendation of the Governor’s Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations.
Dayton also named Castile’s uncle, Clarence Castile, among three appointments to the POST board, which regulates police training programs and licenses police officers. Castile will be a public member of the board, joining 14 other members, most of them law enforcement officers. Castile’s appointment is effective next week.
“We need this extra training for our police officers,” said Valerie Castile, Philando’s mother. “Because at the end of the day, everyone wants to go home. The police wants to go home and the civilian wants to go home. And if we can combine our minds and work together as human beings, then that will happen.”
Dayton said members of the public also need to work harder to ease tensions with law enforcement.
“I’ve been on police ridealongs and the way some people treat police who are there for their safety and protection is just really appalling,” he told reporters. “We all need to broaden our understanding that we’re all human beings and we’re not demarked by our race or the color of our uniform.”
Philando Castile was shot and killed last July 6 during a Falcon Heights traffic stop by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez. Yanez was charged with manslaughter in Castile’s death. Jurors found him not guilty on all charges June 16.
Dayton on Thursday called Castile’s shooting “one of the very most traumatic events that has occurred in my six and a half years as governor of Minnesota, and it’s had long-lasting traumatic effects on so many people.”
For their part, several major police unions called the governor’s comments “tone-deaf insults at cops.” In a statement, the St. Paul and Minneapolis police unions, the State Patrol Troopers Association, the Minnesota Conservation Officers Association and Law Enforcement Labor Services decried Dayton’s remarks.
“Today is a day that should serve as a tragic and solemn reminder to all Minnesotans that we need to focus on increasing mutual trust and good will between police and the communities they serve,” Jake Ayers, president of Law Enforcement Labor Services, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Gov. Dayton decided to use the occasion to insult cops and kick law enforcement to the curb once again.”
What are your feelings about Governor Dayton’s suggestion that the multi-million dollar training fund be named after Castile? What does it say about the police unions who take this as an insult and are pushing back against the move? Who of the two parties is really the one who is tone-deaf to the struggles of the community? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
(Article by Tasha Sharifa)