ST. PAUL (July 8, 2016) — St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman on Friday released the following statement regarding the past two days in Minnesota’s capital city:
“On this difficult day, I want to thank all who attended last night’s vigil to support Philando Castile’s family and friends and to signal our resolve to find a way forward that will honor his life. Philando was a child of Saint Paul who grew up to give back to his community and its children. He graduated from Central High School and worked for the Saint Paul Schools for more than a decade. It is very clear that he loved the children in the James J. Hill Montessori school lunchroom as his own and they, in turn, adored him and are grieving his death.
“I also want to thank the men and women of the Saint Paul Police Department. I am so proud of their courage and commitment to ensuring the safety of all demonstrators, residents and business owners over the last 36 hours through multiple – often concurrent – demonstrations across the capital city. We simply couldn’t ask for more professionalism from our officers and I am deeply grateful.
“Let me assure the community that there will be consequences for the very small group of people who, like last night, peel off from the peaceful demonstrations and turn to acts of violence. That behavior will not be tolerated in Saint Paul. I have instructed the Chief of Police to leave all options on the table in addressing any violence, including the arrest you saw last night. The safety of our officers, demonstrators, residents and property owners is my first priority.
“This week has been excruciating for people across the Twin Cities, our state and nation. Many woke up this morning to the news of last night’s massacre of police officers in Dallas. Like our officers in Saint Paul, they were courageously protecting the right of citizens to peacefully demonstrate. My heart hurts for their families – and the greater Dallas community—in their shock and grief.
“Today is a day when many across our community are thinking, ‘that could be me,’ ‘that could be my son or my daughter,’ or ‘that could be my mother or father.’ It would be easy to be gripped by anger or fear. It would be easy to turn on one another. But that is not Saint Paul. Let us resolve to come together to find justice and peace. For Philando. For the fallen officers. For the children in Philando’s lunchroom—and lunchrooms across America—who are watching and learning from us today.”