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Saint Paul, MINN. – Today, lawmakers in the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus in the Minnesota House released the following joint statement after the release of dash cam footage used as evidence in the recent trial of Saint Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez:
“As the family of Philando Castile continues to grieve, and the community looks for ways to keep a tragedy like his death from ever happening again, we are all confronted with the horrific dashcam footage that was shown to the jury. It is shocking footage, and we continue to believe the killing of Philando was senseless, without cause, and veiled in unfounded racial fear and prejudice. Philando was a man who was an important member of his community, an integral part of the lives of the kids who saw him every day at school, and a lawful gun owner.
Fear of a black man in lawful possession of a gun is not reasonable. The acceptance of the default fear felt by the mere presence of black and brown bodies is not reasonable. As indigenous people and people of color, we know too well how the color of one’s skin affects interactions with our government. It is our position that urgent reform of our policing and criminal justice systems is needed. We, as elected representatives of our communities, will continue to push to break down walls of fear and misunderstanding, to enforce police de-escalation, reform our legal system in the fair pursuit of justice for all, and to ensure safe, diverse communities for everyone in our state.”
The People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus is a new caucus first formed in 2017 and includes Reps. Mary Kunesh-Podein (41B), Jamie Becker-Finn (42B), Peggy Flanagan (46A), Erin Maye Quade (57A), Fue Lee (59A), Ilhan Omar (60B), Susan Allen (62B), Rena Moran (65A), and Carlos Mariani (65B), Sens. Bobby Jo Champion (59), Jeff Hayden (62), Patricia Torres-Ray (63), Foung Hawj (67), and Melisa Franzen (49)