Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s recent comments on the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile has the state’s largest labor union for law enforcement officers calling his comments “unthinkable and irresponsible” and that Dayton has “chosen sides and cast judgment on all cops.”
Last Thursday during a press conference Governor Dayton asked, “Would this have happened if the driver and passenger were white?” going on to say, “I don’t think it would’ve.” According to Kare 11 on Sunday Executive Director for Minnesota’s Law Enforcement Labor Services Sean Gormley shared his organization’s stance, stating:
“Last week’s tragic shootings in Dallas, Falcon Heights, Minn. and Baton Rouge have tested our emotions, our faith and our resolve as a community and a nation. Difficult issues are justifiably being confronted and tensions are running high. Thorough and impartial investigations of these incidents are essential to ensure and preserve the public trust in law enforcement. Indeed, the families and loved ones personally affected by these tragedies deserve no less. However, the fact that Governor Dayton would disregard this investigatory process and use the power of his office to share a premature and unsupported conclusion about the shooting of Mr. Castile just hours after his death is unthinkable and irresponsible. Further, in light of the fatal shootings of five Dallas police officers later the same day, amid heightened tensions across the entire nation, the governor’s comments could also be viewed as reckless.”
Gormley went on to say Dayton’s comments are causing a further divide between police officers and the communities they serve, explaining, “As members of law enforcement, we understand there will always be questions when officers discharge their weapons and lives are lost. We acknowledge the anger and the demand for answers that these incidents can trigger. As we all mourn the lives lost in these tragedies and seek a thoughtful dialogue on issues of race and law enforcement practices, the governor has unfortunately already chosen sides and cast judgment on all cops. Police officers have a duty to protect and to serve all—including those who dislike or distrust cops. The governor’s comments have only deepened the divide between these groups and made our jobs more difficult and more dangerous. We expect a great deal more from the holder of the highest office in the state of Minnesota”
Castile’s shooting received national attention after his girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath on Facebook. Protests over the shooting turned violent Saturday evening leading to 21 injured officers and dozens of arrests. Alpha News reached out to Governor Dayton’s office for a comment on the police union’s remarks but received no response.