On Wednesday, July 6, 2016, yet another African American man, Philando Castile, age 32, was shot by a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer, after having been stopped for a broken headlight. Castile, who was carrying a licensed gun, was shot inside of his car, in the presence of his companion and their 4 year old child, while attempting to reach for his driver’s and gun licenses, as requested by the police officer. The shooting is another in a long line of police shootings of African American men, both locally and nationally.
The leadership of AALF states, “This Must Stop!” And, that decisive governmental action must take place, beginning with Hennepin County Attorney’s recommendation that police carry Tasers, instead of guns.
We cannot continue to go on as a community to continue to allow this scenario to repeat itself – a scenario that has been repeating itself, in one form or other, since African people were brought to these shores. “This Must Stop!” And, it “Must Stop Now!”
We don’t need any more “research,” and we don’t need any more “studies.” The problem is racism – we know that, and we’re calling it what it is. It’s time for African American people and people of good will of all other ethnicities to come together to demand a stop to this action.
Ten Demands for Positive Change in the Wake of the Philando Castile Homicide
Minneapolis, MN – The Minneapolis Urban League and African American Leadership Forum (AALF) have released a list of immediate and critical demands to improve law enforcement practices in the wake of the Philando Castile homicide.
Three immediate demands are:
Appoint Special Prosecutor: The Ramsey County Attorney must appoint a Special Prosecutor from the African American bar to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Jeronimo Yanez.
Release Dash-Cam Video: The Ramsey County Attorney must immediately make available to the public the dash camera video(s).
Release Statements made by Yanez: The St. Anthony Police department and/or Ramsey County Attorney must immediately inform the public of the reason(s) Yanez has stated for why he pulled over Castile. (Through his attorney, Yanez has said there was probable cause for him to pull over Castile for more than a traffic stop).
“It is imperative that law enforcement and governmental leaders operate transparently and expeditiously during this time of deep widespread distrust in law enforcement agencies,” said Steven Belton, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Urban League. “Releasing the videos and statements can only help expedite the process. Philando’s loved ones and our community deserve to know what happened and how people in authority will proceed in dealing with this injustice.”
The African American community continues to grieve the senseless loss of Jamar Clark while it now assumes the heavy burden of Philando Castile’s death, said Jeff Hassan, Executive Director of the African American Leadership Forum. “The best way to honor Philando is to make sure these senseless acts cease to happen. Now is the time to change the system that has miserably failed and mortally penalized African Americans, especially Black males,” Hassan added.
Here are the other demands agreed upon by the AALF and the Urban League:
Require Officers to Carry Tasers: The State should mandate that all police officers in Minnesota be trained in the use of Tasers and required to carry a Taser while on active duty.
Mandatory Bias Training: The State should mandate 15 hours training in implicit and unconscious bias for all police officers in Minnesota and annual continuing education on that subject.
Mandatory Training in De-escalation Techniques: The State should mandate training in 21st century policing de-escalation techniques for all police officers in Minnesota and annual continuing education on that subject.
Mandatory Professional Liability Insurance: The State should mandate that all police officers in Minnesota carry and purchase at their own expense professional liability insurance as a condition of their licensure.
Return City to Federal Mediation Process: The City of Minneapolis must return to the Federal mediation process it unilaterally abandoned more than 10 years ago for police-community relations.
Fund Violence Prevention Initiatives: The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and local corporations and philanthropic organizations should immediately make funding available to expand and deploy community foot patrols and navigators to prevent violence, promote peace and access services.
Fund Trauma Initiatives: Minneapolis and St. Paul corporations and philanthropic organizations should immediately make funding available to address personal and community trauma from relentless violence in targeted communities.