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MN Governor 'Shocked And Horrified' Over Philando Castile Shooting

By Gwendolyn Purdom in News on Jul 7, 2016 9:39PM

A sign and police tape are draped over the entrance of the Governor's Mansion in Minnesota following the police shooting death of a black man in Falcon Heights, MN. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton spoke out Thursday afternoon to condemn the fatal police shooting of 32-year-old Philando Castile during a traffic stop outside Minneapolis Wednesday.

Dayton called the high-profile incident a "horrible" and "senseless tragedy." Dayton told reporters he will "do everything in [his] power" to see that the killing is investigated by both state and local authorities. A civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the death of another black man, Alton Sterling, at the hands of police officers in Louisiana Tuesday is also underway, the agency announced Wednesday.

In an official release published by the Governor's office Thursday, Dayton also pledged a "just outcome for all involved" and offered his condolences to Castile's friends and family. Lt. Governor Tina Smith added that she is "grateful the Falcon Heights Police Department immediately asked the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to lead their independent investigation. As we seek justice, we must be ruled by facts and the law. We need a swift, impartial investigation, and peace.”

Castile's killing and the subsequent video his girlfriend shared online of its aftermath have sparked a firestorm of media attention and public outrage. The St. Paul Public Schools employee, whose young child was in the back seat of the car at the time of his shooting, is the 563 person to be killed by police in the U.S. in 2016, according to data compiled by The Guardian.

At one point during Dayton's press conference, the governor asked: "Would this have happened if the driver were white, if the passengers were white? I don’t think it would have.”

ST. PAUL, MN - JULY 07: Clarence D. Castile, uncle of Philando Castile, speaks outside the Governor's Mansion following the police shooting death of a black man on July 7, 2016 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Philando Castile was shot and killed last night, July 6, 2016, by a police officer in Falcon Heights, MN. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Protests in response to the death of Castile and Alton Sterling are planned in Chicago for Thursday night. President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak about the shootings at 6:30 p.m.