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Police Group Criticizes Dayton’s Hasty Reaction to Shooting

In Minnesota, there has been an outpouring of anger at Governor Mark Dayton, who within hours after the fatal shooting of Philando Castile by a St. Anthony police officer, alleged that the incident was due to “racism,” even though he knew nothing about the officer, Jeronimo Yanez, and next to nothing about how the incident unfolded. Despite that wave of criticism, Dayton says that he “stands by” his premature, uninformed accusation against Yanez.

Now criticism of Dayton’s performance has gone national, as the executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations tells the Washington Post that Dayton’s remarks “exploited a horrible and tragic situation.”

“I think right now, the overriding emotion collectively is one of sadness, I think it’s one of anger and I think it’s one of resignation in the sense that I still have a job to do,” Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, told The Washington Post on Friday. “But there’s got to be a fear, a concern, that because of the job, because of the uniform I wear, I’m being targeted.”

That concern is obviously well-founded, given the multiple attacks on police officers in recent days.

Johnson said [Governor Dayton] “exploited what was already a horrible and tragic situation.”

“Whether race had something to do with it or not, I don’t know, because I can’t get into the officer’s head,” Johnson told The Post. “And neither can the governor.”

Mark Dayton has embarrassed Minnesota, by no means for the first time. The least he can do is apologize for his inexcusable rush to judgment and from here on, if he has nothing constructive to say, maintain a dignified silence.

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