DOJ to Review St. Anthony Police Department After Philando Castile's Death

“It takes a lot of courage to ask for this,” a representative of the DOJ said.

ByABC News
December 15, 2016, 6:31 PM

— -- The Department of Justice will provide a review of the St. Anthony Police Department in Minnesota, more than five months after officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop this past July.

The DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services announced its review of the department on Thursday, following a request made in October by the City of Saint Anthony Village, the suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, where Castile was shot, officials said.

Community Oriented Policing Services Offices director Ronald Davis told the press on Thursday that the DOJ will release a public report detailing its findings about the department, along with a set of recommendations for improvement.

“It takes a lot of courage to ask for this,” Davis said.

He added that his office will work with the department for 18 months following the report to see that the recommendations are implemented.

“I applaud the cities of Saint Anthony Village, Lauderdale, and Falcon Heights and the Saint Anthony Police Department for taking steps to improve department operations to achieve 21st century policing,” Davis said of the decision to collaborate with the DOJ. “The findings and recommendations from this assessment will enable the department and the community to work together to hold the department accountable to the best standards of the law enforcement profession.”

On Wednesday, attorneys for Yanez asked a court to dismiss the charges against the officer.

They argued that Castile was negligent in his own death and claimed he was high on marijuana while driving and did not obey the officer's commands, according to documents obtained by the The Associated Press.

Prosecutors argued last month that Yanez had acted unreasonably and was not justified in using deadly force.

Waves of protest followed Castile's death. Its aftermath was streamed on Facebook Live by his fiance, Diamond Reynolds, and was widely seen -- a phenomenon that helped to fuel a sense of outrage against the department and Yanez.

The city of St. Anthony briefly reinstated Yanez in August, but decided to change the officer's status “after reviewing concerns and other feedback from the community,” officials said in August.

ABC News' Morgan Winsor and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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