Minnesota Traffic-Stop Slaying Stirs Outrage

     (CN) — Protesters took to the governor’s mansion Thursday after a Minnesota police officer shot and killed a black man during a traffic stop the night before, the aftermath of which was apparently streamed live on Facebook.
     The man was identified as 32-year-old Philando Castile of St. Paul, Minn. He was shot late Wednesday during a traffic stop in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights.
     A woman identifying herself as Castile’s girlfriend streamed a live video on Facebook from inside the car as Castile sat dying beside her, saying he was shot “for no apparent reason.”
     The graphic video went viral Thursday morning. Eight minutes into the footage, Castile’s apparent girlfriend describes the officer who shot Castile as “Chinese.”
     In the video posted Wednesday night on Facebook Live, she describes being pulled over for a “busted tail light” and her boyfriend being shot as he told the officer that he was carrying a pistol for which he was licensed.
     A clearly distraught person who appears to be an armed police officer stands at the car’s window, telling the woman to keep her hands where they are and intermittently swearing.
     The video shows the woman in a car next to a bloodied man slumped in a seat, presumed to be Castile.
     Castile’s mother told CNN early Thursday that she thinks she will never learned the truth about his death.
     “I think he was just black in the wrong place,” Valerie Castile said. “I know my son … we know black people have been killed … I always told [my children], whatever you do when you get stopped by police, comply, comply, comply.”
     By late Wednesday, protesters moved to the governor’s mansion in nearby St. Paul, where around 200 people chanted and demanded action from Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. By daybreak, around 50 protesters remained outside the mansion despite a light rain.
     In a statement issued Thursday, the governor said the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension had begun an independent investigation. He said he also spoke with the White House chief of staff to request a separate Justice Department investigation.
     Police said the officer who shot Castile has been placed on paid administrative leave. No other details about the officer were provided.
     The shooting of Castile happened just a day after the FBI said it was investigating the fatal shooting of another black man, 37-year-old Alton Sterling, by Baton Rouge police on Tuesday morning.
     Castile’s cousin, Antonio Johnson, told the Star Tribune that Castile “was immediately criminally profiled and he lost his life over it” because he was a black man driving in a largely middle-class suburb.
     Castile worked as a cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori school.
     St. Paul Public Schools said in a statement Thursday that Castile was described by colleagues as “a team player who maintained great relationships with staff and students alike.”
     “He had a cheerful disposition and his colleagues enjoyed working with him. He was quick to greet former coworkers with a smile and hug,” the school district said. “The Saint Paul Public Schools family extends its deepest sympathy to Mr. Castile’s family and loved ones.”
     Gov. Dayton said Thursday afternoon that he is “heartbroken for Minnesota.” He said that he didn’t think a police officer would have shot and killed a driver who apparently was pulled over for a broken taillight if the driver had been white instead of black.
     The U.S. Justice Department said that it will monitor a Minnesota agency’s investigation into Castile’s shooting, but that it hasn’t yet taken an active role.
     FBI Director James Comey said he expects his agency will be involved in the investigation.
     The Associated Press contributed to this report.
     Photo credit: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP.
     Photo caption: A woman rings the doorbell at the gate of the Governors Mansion as demonstrators gather in St. Paul, Minn., protesting a police involved shooting early Thursday, July 7, 2016.

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