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Traffic Stops Included In Federal Review Of St. Anthony Police

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Traffic stops will be among the issues under review as a federal agency continues its assessment of a Minnesota police department that was involved in the fatal shooting of a black man last July.

The city of St. Anthony announced Friday that the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has outlined goals and objectives for its assessment of the police department.

Vehicle and pedestrian stops will be among the issues assessed, including a review of how officers are trained to initiate and conduct stops. The assessment will also include a look at traffic stop trends, examining the reasons for stops or arrests and the demographics of the people and officers involved — all with the goal of helping the department make reforms and improve transparency, accountability and public trust.

Philando Castile was killed July 6 during a traffic stop in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights. The shooting's gruesome aftermath was streamed live on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend, who was in the car along with her young daughter. Prosecutors said the 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker was shot by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez after he told Yanez he was armed. Authorities later found Castile had a permit to carry.

Philando Castile
Philando Castile at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School (credit: CBS)

Yanez, who is Latino, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and other counts.

Castile's family has said he was profiled because of his race, and his death renewed concerns about how law enforcement officers interact with minorities. His death prompted numerous protests, including public outcry at city council meetings where citizens demanded police department changes.

After the shooting, St. Anthony officials requested a voluntary review by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. In addition to vehicle stops, the assessment will also look at the department's recruitment practices, how it works with community members, and the degree to which command staff hold department members accountable.

The city said in a statement that the objectives were developed after the federal agency held public listening sessions, and talked with police, community members and government stakeholders. The objectives represent the most pressing issues that were observed and will serve as a roadmap as the assessment goes forward.

The St. Anthony Police Department serves the cities of St. Anthony, Falcon Heights and Lauderdale.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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