Following the shooting of Philando Castile by Falcon Heights, MN police officer Jeronimo Yanez, Minnesotans have been quick to weigh in on the topic, principally without discerning what the evidence is. Gov. Mark Dayton belatedly (waited for over 13 hours to test the political winds before reflecting on the shooting) opined that the outcome would have been different had the occupants inside the Castile vehicle been white.
Others have been quick to put in their two cents worth. Former Minnesota law professor, Joe Olson, told the Minneapolis Tribune that he was stopped for a minor traffic incident by a St. Anthony police officer who handled the matter rather inexplicably: The officer’s (not Yanez) behavior was so “troubling that he that he later went to the then-St. Anthony police chief to tell him he may have a serious problem with how the department conducts traffic stops. But the chief, Olson said, dismissed his concern. ‘I told him that if you don’t fix this, you’re going to have an even bigger problem,’ Olson said. ‘And that’s apparently what happened.’”
Even Minneapolis Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse jumped into the fray this week writing that almost all of his personal and professional life had been lived without interaction with African Americans. He said “I’m a product of white Minnesota of the ’50s and ’60s, and I’m the last guy to offer grand insights on race relations in this state that’s part of my soul. What I can say is that as someone who has lived here for 70 years, I have never been more mortified by a Minnesota event than what took place with the death of school worker Philando Castile in Falcon Heights on Wednesday night. Shame on us for taking a life so freely.”
It seems that many people, including law professors, journalists, and the Governor have already drawn conclusions about the case. Others are waiting for the completion of the investigation before commenting.