Minnesota Law Enforcement Fires Back at Dayton

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Image Credit: Preya Samsundar/Alpha News

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The St. Paul Police Federation reserved some harsh words for Gov. Mark Dayton following his call for a police training fund to be named after Philando Castile.

The governor held a press conference Thursday morning with Castile’s family, marking the one year anniversary of his death by shooting during a traffic stop by former St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez. In it he said that a new $12 million fund for training police officers for de-escalation, implicit biases, and responding to mental health crisis should be named after Castile.

“Here’s a bill that was originally drafted by members of the law enforcement community, sponsored by a former police officer, Rep. Tony Cornish, and increased from $10 to $12 million,” Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said in a press release. “If we’re going to honor somebody with a law that provides critical training for cops, how about naming it after an officer killed in the line of duty?”

Castile’s uncle Clarence Castile has also been appointed to the Governor’s Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations.

The St. Paul Police Federation took issue with the tone Dayton struck during the press conference, and issued a sharply worded response on their website. The press release also comes from the Minnesota State Patrol Troopers Association, the Minnesota Conservation officers Association, the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, and Law Enforcement Labor Services.

“The Governor sure has a funny way of calling for improved police and community relations,” President of the St. Paul Police Federation Dave Titus said in the press release. “Instead of providing thoughtful leadership on the one-year anniversary of a tragic event he holds a news conference and completely turns his back on police officers all over again.”

Yanez was acquitted of a manslaughter charge for shooting Castile, as well as two charges of dangerous discharge of a firearm, in mid-June.

Dayton’s office did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Anders Koskinen