Minnesota Police Chief Speaks Out In Defense Of Officer Who Fatally Shot Philando Castile

The Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile following a traffic stop last month, is getting support from a local police chief. In an interview with the Associated Press Wednesday (Aug. 18), St. Anthony Police Chief Jon Mangseth described 28-year-old Officer Jeronimo Yanez as having quality communication skills.

“He has a real sound ability when it comes to communicating and relating to people,” Mangseth said. “He showed me that he could shine in that public eye.”

WATCH: Philando Castile’s Mother Grieves The Loss Of Her Son

Yanez stopped Castile on July 6 and subsequently shot the 32-year-old cafeteria worker. Once pulled over, Castile informed Yanez that he was carrying a registered weapon

The gruesome aftermath of the shooting was streamed on Facebook Live by Castile’s girlfriend.   Castile was alive in the recording and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

His death sparked protests around the country, and put the police department under a public microscope. “There’s been no time in my career where we’ve ever had this type of dynamic at work, this national stage, so to speak,” said Mangseth.

While he didn’t speak directly on the details of case, as it is still under investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s, Mangseth did acknowledge findings that the department arrests Black men at a rate disproportionate to other races. Mangseth feels the arrest figures reveal a larger issue with society versus law enforcement, though he is “open” to implementing bias training for the department.

A lawyer for Yanez, who is of Mexican decense, denies that race played a roll in the shooting.

READ: Loved Ones Say Their Goodbyes To Philando Castile

Yanez has returned to the work after being placed on administrative leave. Counseling services have also been extended to him, although Mangseth wasn’t sure if the officer is partaking in the offer.

He added that the shooting has left Yanez “concerned for his future and the future of his family.”

“This has put him and his family front and center in our metro area, not to mention the nation,” explained Mangseth.

Castile’s fatal shooting came two days after Alton Sterling of Louisiana was shot to death by cops while selling CDs outside of a convenience store.