Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Least We Could Do

Jeronimo Yanez may have been found not guilty of manslaughter, even though he shot and killed Philando Castile without reason. But that doesn't mean Yanez is innocent.

I thought we all knew by now that "not guilty" does not equal "innocent." You are not found innocent in a trial. You are found not guilty by a reasonable doubt.

Given that, and the circumstances of Castile's death, our governor, Mark Dayton, has decided to name a newly announced police training fund after Philando Castile. This seems like the best outcome still possible, given that a jury and judge have failed to find justice in this case.

The police unions, of course, immediately denounced the idea, and several letter writers in the newspapers have echoed their point of view. The writers always include the detail that Yanez was "found innocent." No, he wasn't, and he's the poster child for police training in deescalation. Not to mention (in his case) non-escalation in the first place, since he was entirely responsible for everything that led to Castile's killing.

As a child at Castile's school put it:

Naming the fund after Castile is the least we can do. It's more than "nothing" happening. It means his name will be remembered and cops will be reminded how not to act even when they aren't at a training.

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