Minnesota governor proposes naming police fund after black motorist

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FILE PHOTO - Minnesota Gov Dayton speaks to reporters after signing bills in St. Paul

(Reuters) – Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on Thursday proposed naming a $12 million police training fund in honor of a black motorist who was fatally shot by police last year and whose dying moments were live-streamed on Facebook.

Philando Castile, 32, was shot five times during a traffic stop last July in a St. Paul suburb. The incident triggered local protests and fueled debate across the country over the appropriate use of force by law enforcement against minorities.

The shooting drew national attention after Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car, live-streamed the bloody aftermath on social media.

Dayton, a Democrat, proposed honoring Castile at a news conference on the anniversary of his death.

“I abhor the incident that occurred, the tragedy that occurred, befell Mr. Castile,” said Dayton, who was flanked by members of Castile’s family. “It’s one of the most traumatic, if not the most traumatic events that’s happened in my six-and-a-half years.”

A Minnesota jury last month declared St. Anthony Police officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty of second-degree manslaughter. After that, Castile’s family reached a $3 million settlement with the city of St. Anthony.

Dayton said Minnesota needed to do more to improve police relationships with the community. He also named Castile’s uncle, Clarence Castile, to the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

Dayton’s naming recommendation needs approval by the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board to take effect. The board’s executive director, Nate Gove, could not immediately be reached for comment. Leaders of groups representing Minnesota police officers could not immediately be reached for comment.

The training fund was approved by state lawmakers earlier this year to train police officers working in racially diverse communities.

(Reporting by Chris Kenning and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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