Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday asked the U.S. government to take charge of the investigation into the shooting death of Philando Castile by police, another police killing of a young black man that raises tensions between law enforcement and minorities.
Calling the shooting a “horrible … senseless tragedy,” Dayton said “I will do everything in my power to see it’s investigated by both the state and local authorities.”
Castile was shot to death by two police officers after a car stop on the same day that the government announced it will investigate the death of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who died on Tuesday in Baton Rouge in a confrontation with white police officers, an incident that was videotaped and that has sparked numerous protests.
The Department of Justice’s civil rights division, which is tasked with investigating racial crimes, and the FBI will head that investigation.
Castile’s death also sparked numerous protests on the streets of Falcon Heights, Minnesota.
Fueling the protests was the fact that Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, began live-streaming the traffic stop to Facebook – albeit after Castile had been shot multiple times while in the driver’s seat of their car – showing the young man lying unmoving with his shirt covered in blood. Reynolds was in the front passenger seat and her 4-year-old daughter was in the back seat.
In the video, Reynolds explains that the 32-year-old Castile had been getting his wallet to produce his driver’s license to officers and he informed them that he was carrying a firearm and had a license to do so, before one officer ordered him to put his hands on his head.
Then, according to Reynolds’ version of events, the officer simply shot Castile “four or five times.”
The video images show the visibly nervous officer – who appears to be white – training his pistol on the motionless Castile, who had collapsed in the driver’s seat with his seatbelt still on.
The United States has experienced repeated incidents of racial tension over more than a year, especially after a young unarmed black man, Michael Brown, was gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri, by a white police officer who was later cleared of all charges.