Minnesota’s Democrat Governor Mark Dayton claims that if Philando Castile, the man killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in a Twin Cities suburb on Wednesday night, were white that he would be alive.
Dayton stated, “Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver were white? I don’t think it would have.” He and other lawmakers have called for the Department of Justice to conduct a federal probe into the shooting.
The problem is that Dayton’s comments prejudice the outcome of that probe or any other investigation. We don’t know if the facts support Dayton’s assertion. Just because a police officer shoots a black man doesn’t automatically mean it was racially motivated. Now that the officer has been identified as Jeronimo Yanez how long will it be before we hear the term “white Hispanic” yet again?
Castile’s girlfriend indicated in her Facebook post immediately following the shooting that he had told the officers he had a gun and a concealed carry permit. It is quite possible that as soon as Officer Yanez heard the word gun he went into overdrive with tragic results.
Governor Dayton’s insistence that the shooting was motivated by race is simply unhelpful and will deter investigators from getting at the truth of the matter.