ST. PAUL, Minn. — Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man who was shot and killed by police Wednesday night during a traffic stop, would be alive if he had been white, according to Gov. Mark Dayton.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, a day after Castle was shot in his car while reaching for his driver’s license and registration, Dayton asked and answered the question at the center of the fatal Falcon Heights shooting.
"Would this have happened if ... the driver and passenger were white?" he asked. "I don't think it would've. So I'm forced to confront and I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront that this kind of racism exists."
Dayton called the shooting "appalling on all levels," criticizing the treatment of Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, who posted a live video on her Facebook page after shots were fired.
He said no one deserves to die during a traffic stop for a tail light.
"I can't say how seriously I take this," he said. "I can't say how shocked I am and how deeply, deeply offended I am that something like this would occur in Minnesota."
Earlier Thursday, Dayton appeared in front of a crowd of protesters at the Governor's Mansion, promising change and justice in the wake of Castile's death.
Protesters had been outside the mansion overnight, calling for Dayton to prosecute the officers involved in the fatal shooting.
"My deepest condolences go out to the family and friends and on behalf of all decent-minded Minnesotans, which are almost all of us in the state, were shocked and horrified by what occurred last night," Dayton said. "A horrible, horrible tragedy, a senseless tragedy, and one that I commit as chief executive of the state of Minnesota, I will do everything in my power to see it's investigated by both the state and local authorities."
Dayton said he reached out to President Obama's Chief of Staff Denis McDonough Thursday morning to request the attorney general and the head of the civil rights division launch their own investigations.
"He knew of the situation, he was shocked and concerned as well," he said. "I'm going to urge them to come in as soon as possible."
FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that he "expects" federal authorities to investigate the fatal police shooting in Minnesota.
Comey's statement came during a House hearing into the FBI's recommendation not to bring criminal charges against Hillary Clinton and a day after the Justice Department announced it was launching an investigation into a fatal police shooting in Baton Rouge, La. Alton Sterling, 37, was killed Tuesday in an officer-involved shooting outside a convenience store, sparking protests all over the Southern city. Video there captured police shooting Sterling, then removing a gun that had been in his pants pocket.
The aftermath of the Minnesota shooting was broadcast in Reynolds' nearly 10-minute video on Facebook.
"Police shot him for no apparent reason," she said in the video, "no reason at all.”
Authorities in Minnesota said an officer in the city of St. Anthony was conducting a traffic stop, allegedly for a broken taillight, when the officer fired shots at Castile, who was driving the vehicle.
Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter were in the car at the time of the shooting, police said. Neither was injured.
Castile was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for his injuries. Police confirm Castile died Wednesday night at the hospital.
Dayton said the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also is investigating.
"They are currently collecting all necessary evidence, and interviewing witnesses, to determine what happened, and to assure that justice in this case is served," he said.
Facebook Live Video by Diamond Reynolds, Philando Castile's girlfriend, describing the traffic stop that led to his death. Warning: Video is graphic.
In the Facebook Live video, which was briefly removed from Facebook, Reynolds says police shot her boyfriend after he reached for his ID, which was in his wallet. She says her boyfriend, who was allegedly stopped for a broken taillight, told police the ID was in his wallet and that he was carrying a firearm, which he was licensed to do.
In the video, Reynolds pleads with him to "stay with me," as the camera pans across the car to Castile sitting in the driver's seat with a T-shirt soaked in blood. His girlfriend then begins narrating what happened, saying, "They just killed my boyfriend."
She said the officer fired "four or five times" and "shot his arm off." Police said shots were fired but did not clarify how many.
In the video, the officer can be heard swearing and screaming that he told him not to move and "not to reach for it." She responds saying he was only trying to grab his wallet to get his ID.
"Oh my God, please don't tell me he's dead," she said in the video.
Clarence Castile, the victim's uncle, said Philando Castile was an employee of St. Paul Public Schools, and had worked in the J.J. Hill school cafeteria for 12 to 15 years.
He was an "upstanding young man," Clarence Castile said. "He's not a gun guy, he's not a shooter, not a killer."
St. Anthony Police interim police chief Jon Mangseth said the officer involved in the shooting is a five-year member of the department.
In a statement, police said, "During the stop, shots were fired. One adult male was taken to the hospital. We have been informed that this individual is deceased."
"No one else was injured ... a handgun was recovered from the scene," police added.
At one point in the video, Reynolds is ordered to leave the vehicle with her hands up. She obeys police orders and is told to walk backwards toward police, as they are seen with guns drawn. She's ordered to her knees and is eventually handcuffed and taken into custody. In the video, she asks why she's being arrested and an officer responds that she's just being detained "until we can sort this all out."
The video looks up to the sky while she's detained but she can be heard screaming, "Please don't tell me my boyfriend is gone. Please Jesus, no. Please no!"
At the tail end of the video, a little girl, identified as the girlfriend's daughter, can be heard saying, "It's OK, mommy."
Mangseth said police were aware of the video but wouldn't say anything about the specifics.
"I was made aware there was a live stream on Facebook, but I don’t know anything about it," he said. "I haven’t seen the video."
In an interview on CNN on Thursday, Valerie Castile, the victim's mother, said, "I appreciate her streaming that video like she did, because otherwise we would never have known what happened."
She said she's "outraged. And anybody who saw that video should be outraged, too."
Contributing: Kevin Johnson, Steph Solis, USA TODAY