Lawyer for US shooting victim: "This time must be the last time"

The lawyer representing the family of a black man who was fatally shot by police at a routine traffic stop in the US state of Minnesota confirmed on Tuesday that a lawsuit will be filed in the case.

"I will not rest until justice is done," Judge Glenda Hatchett told the press on Tuesday in St Paul.

Philando Castile, 32, was fatally shot at a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, last week. His girlfriend broadcast the aftermath of the shooting with her mobile phone on Facebook Live.

Castile's death is one of dozens that have made headlines in recent years in which black Americans have been killed by US police officers while being questioned or suspected of minor infractions or crimes.

"This time must be the last time," said Hatchett, who previously had her own television show featuring cases argued in her courtroom.

One day before Castile's death went viral on social media, Alton Sterling was shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after selling CDs outside a convenience store.

Both deaths unleashed outrage and nationwide demonstrations against police brutality on the US black community - including the protest in Dallas, Texas, during which a black US military veteran opened fire on police who were guarding the march.

"Philando is a son to all of us," Hatchett said. "This should not just be this family's pain."

Castile's mother, Valerie, said she wanted to give voice to her son's tragedy to prevent further shootings.

"He is the driving force in me to make sure this doesn't happen to another mother," she said.

"My son was a humanitarian," Castile's mother continued. "He was a pillar in this community. The children that he worked with loved him. He didn't deserve to die like that."

Castile worked in a school cafeteria. His death along with Sterling's and the Dallas shooting have resurrected ongoing debates surrounding gun control and monitoring police tactics.

Hatchett said that she and the family would ask for a "comprehensive evaluation" of local and federal laws, calling for a system that examines how police are hired, trained and retained.

"What happens when there are citizen complaints? What happens in a situation when someone is stopped repeatedly?" Hatchett asked.

The attorney said she and the family would not take a definitive stance on any proposed legislation without first seeing the language in the proposal.

"The last thing we want to do is penalize good police officers and deter them from wanting to be of service," Hatchett said.

A procession and funeral for Castile will take place on Thursday at St Paul Cathedral. The service will be closed to the press.

Last update: Tue, 12/07/2016 - 21:07
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