by Amber Randall
Officials in St. Anthony, Minnesota may create a “racial bias” task force to investigate alleged racism among its police officers in the wake of the Philando Castile shooting.
St. Anthony’s police force received negative attention nationwide after Hispanic police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Philando Castile, a black man, during a traffic stop. The shooting, though still under investigation, was a major flashpoint for the Black Lives Matter movement nationwide, with activists claiming Castile was needlessly killed in part due to his race.
Now, the town is thinking of forming a special group to investigate the possibility of “institutionalized racial bias” within its police force.
City officials spent over an hour listening to residents present reasons for a racial bias force, reports MPR News. City leaders agreed to consider it, but did not vote on the measure.
“We hear you,” Mayor Jerry Faust said to the people gathered, though he warned such a panel was not “something we’re used to doing.” Police Chief John Mangseth, on the other hand, did not attend the meeting.
If the town chooses to create it, the work group would investigate “institutionalized racial bias” amongst officers in the St. Anthony Police Department; the group would feature representatives from St. Anthony Police Department, along with city administrators, residents and business owners from the community.
St. Anthony wouldn’t be the first town to respond to a controversial shooting by creating a committee to investigate potential racism. Last April, a task force in Chicago released a report claiming the city’s police had “no regard” for non-white lives.
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