None of us can forget the image of Philando Castile's lifeless body as it sat next to his heartbroken girlfriend following a police traffic stop in 2016. His killing reverberated throughout our minds and souls, creating an added level of frustration with the police force and its continued use of violence against the black community.
As KSTP reports, St. Anthony, Minnesota's police department has spent the last two years trying to make sure there is never another killing like Castile's. The department says it has spent time researching, meeting with the community, engaging in special training and working with the federal government to better its response to situations like the Castile stop.
On Thursday night (June 14), Chief Jon Mangseth announced all of the department's work has resulted in a concrete solution. According to Mangseth, the department will begin a new community building initiative that increases department transparency, community outreach and decision making fueled by hard data.
“It took all of us and more to go through those difficult times, and arrive where we’re at right now,” said Mangseth, at the lightly-attended presentation.
The plan also includes building a citizens academy and enforcing a stricter body camera policy. Some of the lack of attendance may be due to cynicism, as body cameras have generally been proven to have little effect on police behavior.
“I look at this evening as a positive because these folks are going to carry what they learned here and the messaging out into the community,” Mangseth said, who vowed to create real change regardless of whether people are watching. “We need to get together, too, as a law enforcement community and take a look. ‘Okay, this was year one. What did we see? What did we like? What didn't we like? What are we hearing from the community?’”