If the probe is approved, federal investigators would be working to determine whether Castile’s civil rights were violated.
Attorneys for the family of slain Minnesota man Philando Castile have submitted a letter to the Department of Justice seeking a federal probe be conducted into the fatal shooting.
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that earlier this week, attorney Glenda Hatchett filed the letter to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch arguing that a local investigation would be biased.
“We do not believe that local law enforcement authorities will provide a fair and impartial review,” Hatchett wrote in her letter.
If the US Department of Justice agrees to take on the case, investigators would be examining whether Officer Jeronimo Yanez violated Castile’s civil rights in the July 6 shooting.
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“Officer Yanez’s excessive use of force and fatal shooting of Mr. Castile was unjustified and warrants criminal prosecution,” Hatchett wrote.
Castile was driving with girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her 6-year-old daughter when he was pulled over for a broken taillight (Castile’s attorneys say that his taillight was not broken).
Yanez approached the vehicle and demanded to see Castile’s license and registration. Castile informed Yanez that he had a registered firearm on him, but he was reaching for his wallet. As he placed his hand in his pocket, Yanez opened fire, striking Castile. Reynolds captured the aftermath of the shooting on a Facebook Live stream. Castile was taken to an area hospital, where he later died.
Yanez claims that Castile resembled a robbery suspect, though attorneys for the family argue that he was a victim of racial profiling.
The Department of Justice has received Hatchett’s letter, but has not yet responded to it.