Wiesenthal Center Endorses Calls for Investigation on Minnesota Police Shooting of African American Motorist

July 7, 2016

The Governor of Minnesota summarized the reaction of many Americans to the shocking shooting of an African American at a traffic stop outside of St. Paul by a police officer. Governor Mark Dayton suggested that race played a role in the death of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria manager. “Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passengers, were white?” the Governor said. “I don’t think it would have. So I’m forced to confront, and I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront, that this kind of racism exists. Nobody should be shot and killed in Minnesota … for a taillight being out of function,” the Governor said. “Nobody should be shot and killed while seated still in their car. I’m heartbroken.”

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center agrees and endorses calls for an immediate and thorough investigation of the deadly incident and for all appropriate action to be taken by authorities,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s associate dean. “Our Center’s Museum of Tolerance has trained over 130,000 members of America’s law enforcement and we know that the overwhelming majority put their lives on the line to protect and serve the community. That sacred trust was broken today. We must work together to rebuild trust by confronting and rooting racism wherever it exists,” they concluded.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).