On Thursday, a county attorney in Minnesota announced that his office would no longer prosecute “non-public safety traffic stops,” ostensibly to prevent possible clashes between police and violent suspects, according to CNN.
In a statement to CNN, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi claimed, without evidence, that such traffic stops lead to police officers fatally shooting black suspects.
“I’m not going to continue to perpetuate these unjust practices, these police practices, that have really harsh results to our community,” Choi said. “We really need to start thinking about the actual negative impact this has with police and community relationships, and the outright racial disparity is telling by looking at the numbers.” Choi did not cite any actual numbers to back up his claims.
Choi said his decision was made specifically to honor the memory of Philando Castile, a black man who was fatally shot during a traffic stop in 2016 in St. Anthony. Officer Jeronimo Yanez had pulled Castile over for a broken tail light, and Castile eventually informed Yanez that he had a firearm in the car. Yanez repeatedly ordered Castile to not reach for it, but Castile defied the officer’s orders and reached down anyway; after Castile repeatedly ignored Yanez’s orders, Yanez drew his gun and fired several shots, killing Castile. Yanez was eventually acquitted by a jury of all charges.
Choi, the attorney who unsuccessfully brought charges against Yanez, compared such traffic stops to policies like stop-and-frisk. His new policy was made in conjunction with the far-left Vera Institute of Justice, which has been promoting its own “Motion for Justice Initiative” to abolish such practices that they claim disproportionately affects minorities.
In a statement on Choi’s new policy, the Vera Institute falsely claimed that “these non-public safety stops…occur when a person is detained for a minor infraction while police seek evidence of a more serious crime,” and also asserted that “research shows that racial and ethnic bias play a role in police decisions to make this type of traffic stop.