'Appalled': Minnesota Governor says Philando Castile would be al - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

'Appalled': Minnesota Governor says Philando Castile would be alive if he were white

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(NBC) -

An "appalled" Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday that police wouldn't have shot and killed Philando Castile if he'd been white and called for justice "with the greatest sense of time urgency."

Castile, who would have turned 33 on Friday, was killed Wednesday during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, a suburb of the Twin Cities. He died at a hospital after the incident, which occurred about 9 p.m. (10 p.m. ET) Wednesday.

His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, recorded the aftermath of the incident on live video. She said Castile was shot five times as he sat at the steering wheel reaching into his back pocket for his ID.

An autopsy was pending Thursday. Reynolds and her daughter, who was in the back seat, weren't hurt.

Dayton said Castile would be alive if he hadn't been black, adding that the shooting demonstrated a troubling pattern of racism among some Minnesota law enforcement officers.

"Would this have happened if the driver and the passengers had been white?" he asked. "I don't think so."

Dayton said he has spoken with Minnesota's senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and the area's House representatives and would be demanding a Justice Department investigation.

"I can't say how shocked I am and deeply, deeply offended that this would happen to somebody in Minnesota," Dayton said grimly. "No one should be shot in Minnesota for a taillight being out of function. No one should be killed in Minnesota while seated in their car."

President Barack Obama said Thursday that he was "deeply troubled" by the shooting — the second in two days, after Alton Sterling was killed Tuesday in Baton Rouge, La. Obama said the shootings illustrated the "racial disparities that appear across the system year after year."

The Justice Department is already investigating the Louisiana shooting, and it said Thursday that it was assessing the Minnesota incident.

The St. Anthony Police Department, which covers Falcon Heights, a community of 5,300 people, hasn't detailed what led up to the shooting or said how many times Castile was shot. The officer hasn't been identified, but police described him as a five-year veteran and said he has been placed on paid administrative leave, as is standard in shooting investigations.

Castile had no felony or violent criminal record, but he did have an extensive history of traffic violations, according to extensive interviews and reviews of court records by NBC News.

He had been pulled over and charged at least 31 previous times in Minnesota for traffic-related misdemeanors - from driving without a muffler and without insurance to driving without a license and speeding, according to the data.

"It's incredibly disturbing. I'm upset as a U.S. citizen," Mitchell Swaden, a retired public defender who represented Castile in a 2011 traffic case, told NBC News.

Castile was a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul. Reynolds described him as a "very, very sweet man" who wasn't involved with street gangs and wanted only to take care of his family.

Donn O'Malley, chairman of the school's Parent Teacher Organization, which planned a vigil for Castile Thursday night, called him a "cherished" member of the community.

"We entrusted our children to him during the school day, and our children loved him," O'Malley told NBC News. "When I saw the news this morning and told my children about it, they were sad, confused and immediately started sharing with me how great Phil was."

The shooting immediately created outrage. Crowds shouting "no justice, no peace" have remained outside the governor's mansion in protest.

"It's impossible to see that video and not be shocked and disturbed, but unfortunately, I have seen this horrific scene too many times to be thoroughly shocked," said Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.

"Sadly, it's almost routine — African-American man, unarmed or lawfully armed, complying with the police, shot down, killed," Ellison told NBC News.

"If the shooter was not a police officer, there would clearly be charges, right?" he said. "Without a doubt." 

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