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'It's About Keeping Everyone Safe': 4 Years After Philando Castile's Death, Minnesota Updates State's Driver's Manual For Legal Gun Owners

MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — Minnesota public safety officials are updating the state's driver's manual to give motorists who are legally carrying firearms more guidance on what to do if they are stopped by police.

The change comes four years after Philando Castile was fatally shot during a traffic stop after he told an officer he had a gun.

Announced Monday, the change was sought by Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, and is one of 28 recommendations made by a working group on deadly police encounters.

"On this day, as I remember Philando, I'm pleased that Minnesota has taken this important step to help prevent another tragedy," Valerie Castile said. "This addition to the Driver's Manual is about setting a new standard for law enforcement and making sure all drivers and law enforcement know what to expect when you are being pulled over. It's about keeping everyone safe."

Though Minnesota's driver's manual already provides direction for motorists stopped by law enforcement, the new language details what someone should or should not do when informing an officer they are legally carrying a firearm.

The new information in the Minnesota Driver's Manual advises motorists with firearms to:
- Keep their hands on the steering wheel as the officer approaches.
- Let the officer know they have a firearm.
- Tell the officer the firearm's location.

Drivers should not:
- Reach around inside the vehicle.
- Get out of the vehicle unexpectedly or approach the officer.

The new language also outlines what drivers can expect from law enforcement during a traffic stop. While every traffic stop varies based on the circumstances, drivers can generally expect the officer to:
​- Greet the driver.
- Identify themselves as a law enforcement officer.
- Obtain the driver's license and proof of insurance.
- Inform the individual of the reason for the stop and explain the circumstances for issuance of the citation or warning.
- Check both the validity and authenticity of the driver's license.

The new language can be found on page 40 of the Minnesota's Driver's Manual.

Philando Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, was shot on July 6, 2016, after he told then-St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez that he had a gun. Authorities later discovered Castile had a permit for the firearm. Castile's girlfriend, who was in the car with her then-4-year-old daughter, livestreamed the immediate aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.

Yanez was charged with manslaughter and other counts but was acquitted in 2017, sparking days of protests. Valerie Castile reached a nearly $3 million settlement with the city of St. Anthony less than two weeks later.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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