Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday afternoon he does not believe the shooting of a 32-year-old black man just outside Minneapolis would have occurred had the man been white.
“Would this have happened if they would have been white? I don’t think it would’ve,” the Democratic governor said at a news conference. “This kind of racism exists. And it is incumbent upon all of us to vow to do whatever we can to see it doesn’t continue to happen.”
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Philando Castile was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop on Wednesday in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. He was at least the second black man in two days to be fatally shot by a police officer in an incident recorded on video. Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot and killed in Louisiana on Tuesday morning. Both shootings were captured on video and sparked outrage as the videos spread on social media.
“I can’t say how shocked I am and how deeply, deeply offended that this would occur in Minnesota to somebody who got pulled over for a tail light being out of order and how totally unacceptable it is by all standards and values that I hold dear and I treasure about this state that such a terrible incident and did occur,” Dayton said. “Justice must be served in this instance if we’re going to have a chance to repair the terrible damage that’s been done to the relationships that we all have with men and women of other races and creeds”
Dayton has asked the White House to begin a federal investigation into the shooting.