ST. PAUL, Minn. - After calls for change, Philando Castile’s uncle is becoming the change. Wednesday, Clarence Castile graduated from the St. Paul Police Reserve Academy.
As a reserve officer, Castile and the 14 others in his class will offer support to members of the St. Paul Police Department. They spent 12 weeks training, which included mock scenarios.
This comes five months after Clarence Castile first told KARE 11 he wanted to wear the uniform.
“What I want to do is go in and talk to our young children, future generations, with this uniform on and let them know police are nothing to fear,” he said days after Jeronimo Yanez was exonerated. "When you start something, you got to finish!"
The world watched as Clarence Castile’s nephew, Philando Castile, took his last breath on a Facebook live feed.
In July 2016, a St. Anthony Police officer shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop.
“I think about my nephew every day. Part of this is about him,” Clarence Castile said. “I don’t want people to be afraid. Police aren't here to hurt you even though you've heard stories and you’ve seen things on TV but all of that isn't everything.”
Clarence Castile said wearing the uniform is healing and now part of his mission. He hopes to connect with students and young adults. He says it's something he's always wanted to do - even before Philando was shot and killed by a police officer.
St. Paul Commander John Lozoya said he believes Clarence Castile will find fulfillment as he gets more involved in the community.
“He will see more of his mission develop as he gets into it. Right now, he believes what it might be and once he starts doing the job he will understand what it isn't,” he said.
Lozoya said Police Reserves are required to help patrol two events in the community and dedicate 100 hours of service.