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Cities Attempt to Mend Fences Amid Police Shootings

The city of St. Anthony, Minnesota, reached a settlement with the family of Philando Castile on Monday, less than two weeks after a jury acquitted the officer who fatally shot him during a traffic stop last year of second-degree manslaughter.

The city announced in a joint statement that a $3 million settlement had been reached with Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile.

The June 16 acquittal of St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez sparked national outrage, mirroring the reaction of the initial incident. Though the city announced it would offer Yanez a voluntary separation agreement following the verdict, many still took to the streets to protest.

Thousands flooded the streets of St. Paul, Minnesota, and one group blocked an interstate, which resulted in 18 arrests according to a PBS report. Marches opposing the verdict continued to pop up in cities nationwide, including New York and Oakland, California.

Yanez fired seven shots into 32-year-old Castile’s car during the July 6 traffic stop for a broken taillight. Five of the rounds struck Castile, two going through his heart.

The aftermath of the shooting was captured and broadcast on Facebook Live by Castile’s partner, Diamond Reynolds, in a gruesome video that stunned the nation and incited protests across the country. Her 4-year-old daughter sat in the backseat at the time of the incident.

“The parties moved expeditiously to resolve potential civil claims resulting from this tragedy in order to allow the process of healing to move forward for the Castile family, for the people of St. Anthony Village, and for all those impacted by the death of Philando Castile throughout the United States,” said the statement, noting that a lawsuit “may have taken years to work its way through the courts exacerbating the suffering of the family and of the community.”

It said Castile’s mother could use the money to continue her work with the Philando Castile Relief Foundation.

The statement acknowledged “no amount of money could replace Philando” and noted that the city is working to improve relations between the police and community.

Many took to social media saying the sum was not large enough, others saying that a criminal conviction would have been more satisfying.

“I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota,” said Valerie during a brief news conference held shortly after the reading of the verdict. “My son loved this state. He had one tattoo on his body and it was of the Twin Cities — the state of Minnesota with TC on it. My son loved this city and this city killed my son. And the murderer gets away.”

She has not yet made a comment about the settlement.

Castile’s settlement came shortly after the insurance company for the city of Ferguson, Missouri, paid a settlement for a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of slain 18-year-old Michael Brown after he was shot by a police officer.

In Seattle, the city council tried to heal the community during a town hall Tuesday after a recent police-involved shooting death of a pregnant mother.

Two Seattle officers shot Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of four, in front of her children while responding to her emergency call to report a burglary on June 16. According to the police, they shot her because she approached them with a knife and did not follow orders to drop the weapon.

Lyles suffered from mental health issues and was in the middle of a crisis.

The Seattle Police Department assured in a statement that Force Investigation Team detectives would investigate the force used by both police officers. The officers have been placed on administrative leave until the conclusion of the investigation.

One advocacy group, MomsRising, called the incident an “unacceptable tragedy.”

The city’s police force has a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department for using excessive force.

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Tatyana Hopkins – Washington Informer Contributing Writer

Tatyana Hopkins has always wanted to make the world a better place. Growing up she knew she wanted to be a journalist. To her there were too many issues in the world to pick a career that would force her to just tackle one. The recent Howard University graduate is thankful to have a job and enjoys the thrill she gets from chasing the story, meeting new people and adding new bits of obscure information to her knowledge base. Dubbed with the nickname “Fun Fact” by her friends, Tatyana seems to be full of seemingly “random and useless” facts. Meanwhile, the rising rents in D.C. have driven her to wonder about the length of the adverse possession statute of limitations (15 years?). Despite disliking public speaking, she remembers being scolded for talking in class or for holding up strangers in drawn-out conversations. Her need to understand the world and its various inhabitants frequently lands her in conversations on topics often deemed taboo: politics, religion and money. Tatyana avoided sports in high school she because the thought of a crowd watching her play freaked her out, but found herself studying Arabic, traveling to Egypt and eating a pigeon. She uses social media to scope out meaningful and interesting stories and has been calling attention to fake news on the Internet for years.

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