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Dayton wants police training fund named for Castile

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Gov. Mark Dayton speaks, surrounded by relatives of Philando Castile
Gov. Mark Dayton marks the first anniversary of the death of Philando Castile, surrounded by Castile's relatives, Thursday, July 6, 2017.
Brian Bakst | MPR News

Updated: 7:20 p.m. | Posted: 11:19 p.m.

Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday marked the first anniversary of the death of Philando Castile by recommending the state's Peace Officer Standards and Training Board name a new $12 million training fund after Castile.    

The fund is aimed at helping provide training opportunities for law enforcement officials working with diverse communities. The money was approved by the Legislature earlier this year.  

A letter from the governor requesting the change noted he was following the recommendation of the Governor's Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations.  

Valerie Castile speaks, accompanied by family members and Gov. Dayton
"This is not about my son anymore. I've said that from the very beginning. This is for the next generation of children." Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile said during a speech, July 6, accompanied by her family and Gov. Mark Dayton.
Brian Bakst | MPR News

  Dayton also named Castile's uncle, Clarence Castile, among three appointments to the POST board, which regulates police training programs and licenses police officers. Castile will be a public member of the board, joining 14 other members, most of them law enforcement officers. Castile's appointment is effective next week.    

"We need this extra training for our police officers," said Valerie Castile, Philando's mother. "Because at the end of the day, everyone wants to go home. The police wants to go home and the civilian wants to go home. And if we can combine our minds and work together as human beings, then that will happen."

Dayton said members of the public also need to work harder to ease tensions with law enforcement.

"I've been on police ridealongs and the way some people treat police who are there for their safety and protection is just really appalling," he told reporters. "We all need to broaden our understanding that we're all human beings and we're not demarked by our race or the color of our uniform."

  Philando Castile was shot and killed last July 6 during a Falcon Heights traffic stop by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez. Yanez was charged with manslaughter in Castile's death. Jurors found him not guilty on all charges June 16.

Dayton on Thursday called Castile's shooting "one of the very most traumatic events that has occurred in my six and a half years as governor of Minnesota, and it's had long-lasting traumatic effects on so many people."

For their part, several major police unions called the governor's comments "tone-deaf insults at cops." In a statement, the St. Paul and Minneapolis police unions, the State Patrol Troopers Association, the Minnesota Conservation Officers Association and Law Enforcement Labor Services decried Dayton's remarks.

"Today is a day that should serve as a tragic and solemn reminder to all Minnesotans that we need to focus on increasing mutual trust and good will between police and the communities they serve," Jake Ayers, president of Law Enforcement Labor Services, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, Gov. Dayton decided to use the occasion to insult cops and kick law enforcement to the curb once again."