Pastor Danny Givens didn’t mince words today when he took the microphone after Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton addressed reporters about a police shooting that left Philando Castile, a black school employee, dead after a traffic stop.
Speaking at an NAACP news conference at the governor’s mansion in the state capital, St. Paul, Givens, the founder and senior pastor of the nearby Above Every Name Ministries, said he has been to the residence multiple times, though not because he was invited.
“This is the third time I’ve been to this mansion because of my people being murdered,” he said, turning around with the microphone in hand to speak directly to the governor.
“I’ve been to your house because your people keep killing my people,” he said, shouting.
Givens expressed doubt about Dayton’s promises to achieve a just outcome in Castile’s death -- the aftermath of which was captured on video that went viral.
“You keep telling us you’re going to do something,” Givens yelled at the governor while protesters cheered. “I just want you to put some action on it, put some respect on our people’s names. That’s all I want. I just want it to be real. This isn’t black anger. This is black grief!”
Dayton had vowed at the news conference to do everything in his power to ensure a thorough investigation into the death of Castile, who was fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb Wednesday night.
Dayton, who was interrupted several times by protesters, said he has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to begin an immediate independent federal probe into the incident. The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has launched an independent investigation.
“Justice will be served in Minnesota,” he said.
At the press conference, Nekima Levy-Pounds, the president of the NAACP chapter in Minneapolis, called Minnesota the “Jim Crow North” and said the state “should be better than this.”
“There is a culture here that puts its foot on the necks of people of color,” she said.
In a long Facebook post, President Barack Obama wrote, “All Americans should be deeply troubled” by the fatal police shootings of Castile and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“What’s clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents,” Obama wrote. “They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.”
Police said that a man, who they did not identify, was shot during a traffic stop around 9 p.m. Wednesday. They said no one else was injured and a handgun was recovered.
Castile's girlfriend, who was in the car at the time and filmed video of the aftermath, said that they were pulled over for a broken tail light. An officer then came to the window and asked for license and registration, she said. Castile then told the officer that he had a gun for which he had a permit, she said.
“I begin to yell, ‘But he’s licensed to carry,’” she said at the Minnesota governors' residence. “After that, [the officer] begin to take off shots, bop bop bop bop, ‘Don’t move, don’t move!’”
The officer can be heard saying on the video: "I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand out."