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Half of arrestees where Castile died are Black

KYLE POTTER | 7/25/2016, 11:44 a.m.
Police in the suburban St. Paul area where Philando Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop have disproportionately ...
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Police in the suburban St. Paul area where Philando Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop have disproportionately arrested African Americans, according to an analysis of data provided by the department that shows nearly half of the people arrested this year in the heavily White community were Black.

The St. Anthony Police Department provided arrest and citation data in response to requests from The Associated Press and other media after the death of Castile, who was shot several times by an officer in Falcon Heights last week. His death and other recent killings of Black men by police around the country have renewed concerns about how law enforcement officers interact with minorities.

Castile worked at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul. Quick with a high-five for students and always eager to sneak children extra graham crackers and other treats, Castile was known simply as “Mr. Phil.”

Castile’s girlfriend, who streamed the aftermath of his shooting live on Facebook, said in her video that Castile was complying with the officer’s request to provide ID when he was repeatedly shot. A lawyer for the officer has said Castile was considered a “possible match” for a suspect in a recent armed robbery in the area.

Court and driver records show Castile was pulled over or ticketed at least 52 times in Minnesota since 2002, with 86 total misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor counts. More than half of the 86 violations were dismissed, court records show. He had no serious criminal record.

The St. Anthony police data showed that while just 7 percent of residents in St. Anthony and the neighboring towns of Lauderdale and Falcon Heights that the department also serves are Black, nearly half of all arrests performed by St. Anthony officers were of African Americans in 2016. And despite just a small increase in the area’s African American population since 2010, the percentage of the department’s Black arrestees has increased steadily since 2011, when a third of the people it arrested were Black.

All told, roughly 38 percent of the people arrested by the St. Anthony Police Department since 2011 have been Black. Police Chief Jon Mangseth was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment. A message left for St. Anthony Mayor Jerry Faust was not immediately returned.

The data provided by the department does not give details about individual arrests, nor does it show when an arrestee was also issued a citation. But the department’s annual reports show that the vast majority of its arrests are prompted by traffic-related offenses.

St. Anthony is a suburb north of St. Paul. Given the small size of neighboring Falcon Heights and Lauderdale, those communities contract with St. Anthony police for law enforcement services. The area that includes those suburbs mirrors the demographics of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area as a whole, which was about 7 percent Black in 2014, according to the latest American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Meanwhile, the St. Anthony department’s issuing of citations is closer to the demographics of neighboring communities. Twelve percent of its citations issued since 2011 have been to Blacks.