ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Faith leaders and musicians delivered messages of hope Thursday at a funeral for a black Minnesota man who was fatally shot by a suburban St. Paul police officer.
Mourners filled the 3,000-seat Cathedral of St. Paul to pay their respects to 32-year-old Philando Castile, whose white casket arrived and left on a horse-drawn carriage. After the ecumenical service ended, people lined up on either side of the cathedral’s long stairs holding “Unite for Philando” signs as pallbearers dressed in white raised clenched fists while carrying out Castile’s casket.
Castile was shot several times during a July 6 traffic stop in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights. Castile’s girlfriend streamed the aftermath live on Facebook.
The Rev. John Ubel, rector of the Catholic cathedral that overlooks downtown St. Paul, said the day will prove to have been a good one if it brings people of different backgrounds together and gives them a “tiny measure of peace.”
In his eulogy, the Rev. Steve Daniels Jr. of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church questioned why racial profiling still occurs in the U.S. He said he grew up in Mississippi in the 1950s and ’60s and understands the frustrations expressed by today’s protesters in response to police shootings of black people.
They want to feel respected, valued and are tired of being “wrongfully murdered,” Daniels said.
He said he’s thankful for police and their service, but that people need to find a way to work together.
Gov. Mark Dayton, who has suggested that race played a role in Castile’s death, attended, as did U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.
Hundreds of people have gathered for a community meal at the St. Paul school where a black Minnesota man worked before he was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop.
Philando Castile was shot July 6 in suburban St. Paul. His girlfriend streamed the aftermath live on Facebook.
His mother, Valerie Castile, spoke to the crowd at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School on Thursday following her son’s funeral at the Cathedral of St. Paul. She told them: “Any one of us could be Philando. … For my son to die the way he did, it’s unspeakable.”
His uncle, Clarence Castile, said St. Paul schools, the Castile family and donations from the Teamsters union made the meal possible.
Gov. Mark Dayton came and thanked citizens for being there.