St. Paul, MN - The uncle of Philando Castile has become a reserve officer with the St. Paul Police Department.
Five months ago, Clarence Castile told KARE that he had wanted to wear the uniform of a St. Paul Police Officer even before his nephew was shot and killed by a police officer.
Castile said he wanted to become a reserve officer a couple of years ago to learn how the department works and share that information with young people to help them stay safe during their encounters with police, KMSP reported.
After his nephew, Philando, was shot and killed by St. Anthony Police Officer last year, his mission took on an added urgency.
“If they recognize me, it’s like ‘Wow Mr. Castile. He can help out law enforcement, they must not be too bad,’” he said.
On Wednesday, Clarence Castile graduated from the St. Paul Police Reserve Academy, along with 14 others, and will offer support to members of the St. Paul Police Department.
Officer Yanez was acquitted of second-degree manslaughter and felony gun charges in a June trial.
Violent protests and rioting occurred in St. Paul after the jury's verdict, which resulted in 21 police officers being injured, some seriously. More than 102 people were arrested, according to KARE.
Just days after the trial, Clarence Castile announced his intention to become a police officer.
“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. When you start something, you got to finish!” he said.
Reserve Officer Castile said that wearing the uniform is healing, and now is his mission in life.
"I think about my nephew every day. Part of this is about him. 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,” he said.
St. Paul Police Commander John Lozoya said that it's his belief that Clarence Castile will find fulfillment in that mission as he serves his 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,” Cmdr. Lozoya said.