First statewide police use of force panel meeting meets protests, sparks renewed conversation

Updated: August 17, 2019 07:07 PM

A new statewide group created to study the response to officer-involved shootings met for the first time Saturday. The working group panel on police-involved deadly force encounters at the capitol briefly suspended its first hearing as tensions flared, escalating into a confrontation in the hallway with protesters and those on the panel.

“I don't take any of it personally; I take it all seriously,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. “These are people who had experiences that are really painful for them.”

RELATED: Attorney general, DPS commissioner announce working group on police deadly force encounters

And while the confrontation was an uneasy sight, Ellison and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said they both understood the need for a conversation and action around police brutality, which is why the 16-member group was assembled. 
“And so that's what we're doing here, we're stepping up and saying, ‘Yes, we've heard your cries for change, we've heard the pain of mothers who’ve lost children, and we know that you want change, and we want it too,’” said Harrington.
At the meeting, Valerie Castile's shared her painful story. Her son Philando was killed in an officer-involved shooting while driving in Falcon Heights in 2016.
“The whole situation with Philando was hard. It was difficult. I adored by son. And I did everything humanly possible to protect my son,” said Valerie Castile. “A lot of them weren't doing anything. They may have been having a mental health issue, or were running, or being un-armed, and we have to change that.”
Some of the ideas presented included better training in implicit bias, including de-escalation training, an independent group to conduct investigations around use of force and more community-based activities.
Despite the different opinions on what needed to be done to prevent more lives lost, it seems everyone at the table wants a better, safer community. 
“I'm a mother, 100%. And I care about this community, and what happened today is because our community is traumatized. Everybody in this community is hurting,” said Valerie Castile. 


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Crystal Bui

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