INKSTER, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – It’s been a year since a Minnesota police officer shot and killed Philando Castile. On the anniversary of his death the reoccurring issue of excessive police force and ongoing racial tensions in many communities across the country remain as volatile as ever.
Castile, a black man, had been pulled over for a broken tail light by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer, on July 6, 2016 with his girlfriend and her child in the car. When the police approached the car Castile notified Yanez, who is white, that he had a gun in the car.
In the moments that followed — Castile was shot up to seven times by Yanez. Castile died within hours of being shot and Yanez was charged with second degree murder and other related charges. He was found not guilty on all counts.
That’s a repeating pattern to many in the community and a deep wound in many police departments as well.
Chief of Police in Inkster, William Riley believes most officers are good, and only one percent of them in the nation should not be on the force.
“Do we have some ones who don’t need to be there? Absolutely. I’ll be the first person to tell you and anybody else … yeah there are some who get through that shouldn’t be police officers.
“Some cities or areas are no longer taking care of law enforcement or public safety – period,” says Riley. “So, you’ve got all these things going on and then some places wonder why you can’t get people hired, you can’t get good officers – you can’t keep them.”
While police departments across the country are stinging from the actions of rogue cops — there’s probably not a department in the country which has not suffered a loss of one of their own.
Riley notes that losses within their department still leave an open wound.
“Thirty years ago — there were three officers on a call to a local motel … it resulted in, unfortunately, three officers getting killed. That was July 9, 1987.”
He speaks of other losses in the department — in 1994 –“a single officer was also killed in the line of duty.”
“Our memorial — in its thirtieth year — honors the memories of the fallen officers,” said Riley.
Riley says all of the cuts in pensions and pay, make it more difficult to find good officers who are willing to make law enforcement a career.