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A friend of Philando Castile had warned of another police-involved shooting before hearing Daunte Wright was killed

Stephen Maturen

Speaking at a rally, Minnesota state Rep. John Thompson offered a warning about violence against Black men in the state.

Thompson was a friend of Philando Castile, who was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, outside Minneapolis, in July 2016.

“Somebody tell Al Sharpton and Ben Crump to rent apartments here because we are going to be here, there’s going to be another dead man here in the state of Minnesota before the summer,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon he said at the rally.

Then, someone came running up to tell him that Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, had been fatally shot by police during a traffic stop.

“I’m not psychic, I’m just Black here in the state of Minnesota,” Thompson said.

Thompson spoke to CNN on Tuesday, during the third night of protests over the death of Wright. The outrage from the shooting has sparked renewed anger in the state over the death of George Floyd last year and the fatal shooting of Castile.

“You fit the description, I fit the description, you may fit the description on 90% of the calls that come across these radios,” Thompson said at a press conference regarding Wright’s death. “I don’t want to fail another young man. We failed George Floyd, we failed Daunte, we failed Philando.”

One of the biggest failures, Thompson said, was the state accepting incremental changes after Castile’s death.

Instead of just implicit bias and de-escalation training, Thompson is calling for police accountability to be put into legislation.

“I’m not anti-police, I’m just anti-BS,” Thompson said.

Thirty-two-year-old Castile was stopped by an officer near a store in 2016. He told the officer he had a gun in the car, which he had a permit to carry, and the officer — claiming he was afraid Castile was reaching for his gun — shot him.

Just the day before, longtime coworkers Thompson and Castile were talking in front of the store near where he would lose his life, Thompson said. Thompson got choked up describing how the latest shooting reopened the wounds of losing his friend.

“I can’t keep ingesting this in my body, so I have to do something,” he said.

Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer who shot Castile, was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter in 2017.

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