Date: July 7, 2016
Contact: Alyssa Siems Roberson (507) 421-2412

Hayden and Champion respond to the killing of Philando Castile

St. Paul, Minn.— St. Paul–Senate Equity Subcommittee Co-Chairs Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-Minneapolis) and Deputy Senate Majority Leader Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis) have released a joint statement following the police shooting and death of 32 year-old Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. Castile was shot in his vehicle by a St. Anthony police officer in front of his girlfriend and young child Wednesday night. Sen. Hayden and Sen. Champion have been in communication with the administration, community members and leaders.

“We didn’t know Philando Castile, but we know the story of his death all too well, and now the world knows his name and how he was slain. In the last 24 hours we have seen video of shooting deaths of two black men — Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. A lack of faith in our justice system is not only understandable, it’s warranted. The justice system failed Philando last night, but there is a chance now for the federal Department of Justice to do the right thing in the wake of this tragedy. It is critical that the DOJ lead the investigation and show the Black community that justice, even following a horrific event like Philando’s death, can be served.

The treatment of a Black man compared to a white man who identifies themselves as a lawful carrier of a concealed weapon is stark: Philando is dead, while recently stopped Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance president Andrew Rothman was sent on his way, alive.

Police-involved deaths like Philando’s have become the soundtrack of our lives. We thank community members and supporters who have interrupted their lives in the middle of this crisis to show up and decry this kind of deplorable, unacceptable targeting of young black men. To our community: continue the fight, say his name, and know that we are with you.

As elected leaders we take seriously the burden eliminating profiling, unfair treatment, and implicit bias in our justice system. We will continue to work closely with the community to heal and press forward against the barriers Black Minnesotans face.”