Protests Erupt After Minnesota Officer Acquitted In Killing Of Philando Castile

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Earlier this year, the Minnesota state legislature approved the Peace Officer Training Assistance Fund—a police training fund which community members suggested naming after Philando Castile, whose unjust death at the hands of a police officer was broadcast via social media in 2016. But after strong opposition from law enforcement, a Minnesota peace officer training board voted against naming the $12 million initiative after Castile on Thursday, disappointing members of Castile’s family.

“It’s just a pitiful shame that they voted against it when the governor recommended it,” Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, told the Pioneer Press.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) presented the proposal in July with the support of Castile’s family, but some expressed skepticism upon its announcement. “Of course you wouldn’t want to name it after Philando because, every time you get out of your car, Philando Castile’s name is going to play in your head,” John Thompson, a friend of Castile said to the board.

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, told HuffPost Dayton’s proposal was “in the interest of politics and gaining votes.”

“We looked at it as irresponsible statements by Governor Dayton. The shooting happened and he came out and condemned the officer immediately,” Kroll stated. “It had nothing to do with the reality of the situation. Officer [Jeronimo] Yanez was tried and found not guilty by a jury. So the justice system was followed. And this is just the governor trying to garner votes for the Democratic party.”

He then suggested the fund should have, instead, honored police officers—because what is justice, right?

“My position was we’ve had 243 officers in the state of Minnesota that have been killed in the line of duty, and we’ve never named a bill after them,” Kroll continued. “Why would we name it after a person that, in the end, was shot by police and the shooting was ruled to be justifiable?”

Nate Gove, the POST board’s executive director (who HuffPost notes did not vote), still believes the fund is a step in the right direction. “My hope moving forward is that for those whose trust has been strained, law enforcement and the public can come together,” he said.