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DOJ To Announce Review Of St. Anthony Police Over Castile Shooting

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Department of Justice is planning to announce a review of a suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, police department, more than five months after an officer fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop, according to an advisory released Wednesday.

The DOJ's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services said it will make an announcement Thursday about its review of the St. Anthony Police Department. The city of St. Anthony said in October that it had asked for the review and inclusion in an initiative to help cities build trust between law enforcement officers and citizens.

It's expected that the review will bring additional resources to St. Anthony, and help the city identify ways it can make changes to address issues of bias and accountability.

Castile, who was black, was killed July 6 during a traffic stop in the nearby suburb of Falcon Heights. The shooting's gruesome aftermath was streamed live on Facebook by his girlfriend, who was in the car at the time. Prosecutors said the 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker was shot at seven times after he told an officer he was armed and had a license to carry.

Castile's family has claimed he was profiled because of his race, and his death renewed concerns about how law enforcement officers interact with minorities.

St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who is Latino, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. When they announced the charges, prosecutors said Yanez acted unreasonably and was not justified in using deadly force. Yanez has not yet formally entered a plea, but his attorneys have said he intends to plead not guilty.

St. Anthony provides police services for neighboring Falcon Heights and Lauderdale. Arrest data analyzed by The Associated Press in the days after Castile's death showed St. Anthony police disproportionately arrested African-Americans in those areas.

Census data shows just 7 percent of residents in St. Anthony, Lauderdale and Falcon Heights are black. Arrest data for the first half of 2016 showed that nearly half of all arrests made by St. Anthony officers were of African-Americans. All told, roughly 38 percent of the people arrested by the St. Anthony Police Department since 2011 have been black.

Since Castile's shooting, the city has been working on improving relations between police officers and the community. In October, the city said that participating in the DOJ's program would give St. Anthony access to work done in other cities, and would bring more resources and technical help to St. Anthony's efforts.

The Community Oriented Policing Services office has conducted reviews of departments around the country, including in Milwaukee, after a white police officer fatally shot Dontre Hamilton, a black man who was mentally ill. Results of the Milwaukee review are expected to be released next month.

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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