DOJ reviews St. Anthony Police Department after Philando Castile shooting

After a request by the City of St. Anthony, the Department of Justice announced Thursday it will help the police department improve community relations by completing a comprehensive review of the department. 

The issue boiled to the surface after the shooting death of Philando Castile by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez. Yanez faces one charge of manslaughter, and his next court appearance is Dec. 19.  

Looking to build back that community trust, the mayor and police chief asked the DOJ for help. The DOJ will do a ten month assessment that includes document review, listening sessions, ride-alongs and interviews.

“When you think about it the city is asking us to be very critical knowing that we will be very independent, objective and critical of the operations,” said Ron Davis, director of the DOJ’s community oriented policing services. “I like to say the truth can hurt, but selective ignorance is fatal.” 

The St. Anthony Police Department has 25 officers which is the size of 75 percent of the police departments in the nation.

The DOJ says the St. Anthony assessment will ultimately serve as a model for other departments around the country. 

The listening sessions will be on Jan. 9, 10 and 11 and will be open to the public.

Betty McCollum statement

“After the shooting of Philando Castile in July, I called for a full federal investigation by the Department of Justice to determine relevant facts and ensure accountability appropriate to those facts. Today’s announcement of a Department of Justice review of the St. Anthony Police Department is another step in securing the accountability our entire community deserves.

“A thorough federal review of the St. Anthony Police Department has the potential to improve policing, build greater trust between citizens and police, and help us achieve our common goal of a safe, non-violent community. I commend Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice for launching this review and look forward to its conclusions.”

Attorney Glenda Hatchett and attorney Robert Bennett statement:

“On behalf of our client, Ms. Valerie Castile, mother of slain Philando Castile, we are pleased with the independent review by the United States Department of Justice and any measures that can stop tragic occurrences and promote proper police practices for all communities is a critical step in the right direction.”