California Attorney General Kamala Harris told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday that Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by police in Minnesota last week, would have been alive if he were white.
“I think that there’s no question that he was … that based on the facts as I know it that he would not be dead if that police officer perceived him differently,” she told Tapper.
Harris spoke on the same day that Fresno police released body cam footage of the shooting death of an unarmed white teenager.
Harris’s comments echo those of Minnesota governor Mark Dayton, who said last week that Castile would not have been shot if he had been white. Critics argue that Dayton, a second-term Democrat re-elected in 2014, fanned the flames of racial tension nationwide.
Castile’s death was the second of two deaths, after that of Alton Sterling in Louisiana, that have re-ignited national protests as part of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Castile’s death was also one of the causes motivating Micah X. Johnson, who murdered five police and injured several other people, including two civilians, at a Dallas “Black Lives Matter” protest march last week.
Harris, who is running for U.S. Senate, spoke to Tapper after video emerged of an emotional speech she gave last Friday in which she lost her composure as she described her competing emotions as the state’s chief law enforcement officer on the one hand, and as a black woman on the other.
“I believe we are at a moment in this country where people are experiencing an incredible amount of pain,” adding that the country’s leaders had to “do what we can to help our country heal.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.