Gov. Dayton, Don’t Honor Philando Castile

Scott Johnson, Power Line, July 8, 2017

Mark Dayton

Mark Dayton

A racially mixed Ramsey County jury acquitted St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the shooting death of Philando Casatile last month.

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Following the verdict Governor Dayton has continued in the same vein. He now calls for a new $12 million police training fund to be named after Castile.

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One officer whom I know and trust asks us to post his comments without identifying him by name or department.

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He writes:

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Just days after the latest assassination of a police officer in New York, Minnesota’s governor Mark Dayton continued to fuel the war on cops by reiterating his prior statement that Castile would not have been shot if he were white. Further, he proposed a police training fund be named in honor of Castile, I suppose as a permanent reminder of Dayton’s petulant divisiveness.

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I think it’s important to revisit the criticism of Officer Yanez in light of the facts of the case as the jury likely saw them.

The Stop. I’ve seen some say that Yanez should have conducted a “felony stop” on Castile. I would like to see those people even describe what a felony stop is before taking their recommendation on when one should or should not be done. I also believe that many of the same people would rail against the increase in felony stops because their use would be found to be disproportionate or excessive or some other such sin.

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A felony stop is conducted rarely because it is much more intrusive than a regular stop. A felony stop involves calling the driver and passengers of a vehicle out at gunpoint and searching, handcuffing and placing them in the back of a squad car. While this is safer, its use is limited in the interest of civil liberties and in my opinion was not called for in this case despite Yanez’s perception that suspicion that Castile looked like a suspect from an armed robbery nearby a few days earlier.

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Castile had a concealed carry or CCW permit. This is true but irrelevant. It is actually a crime for a CCW permit holder to carry while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Castile was high on marijuana at the time of the encounter. A CCW holder should have known better than to reach for his gun, or anything else, without being instructed by the officer, as Officer Yanez believed Castile to be doing. The number of times Castile had been stopped was widely reported though generally as part of the #narrative that he was stopped excessively due to his race. Based on the number of encounters, Castile should have been known what not to do during a traffic stop.

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So Castile was illegally carrying a gun and despite being told “Don’t reach for it! Don’t pull it out! Don’t pull it out!” appeared to be pulling his gun out in the middle of an otherwise routine traffic stop. What about Philando Castile’s behavior that night warrants a police training fund be named in his honor? What about that encounter makes the despicable Mark Dayton endorse the BLM anti-cop narrative?

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