Minnesota Department of Public Safety designed the pouch in collaboration with Valerie Castile, whose son was fatally shot by a Minnesota cop.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of police brutality and race-motivated violence that may distress some readers.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is being criticized for introducing a "not-reaching pouch" to reduce police shootings of civilians. The pouch kept in a visible location inside the vehicle will display information such as driver's license, registration, and insurance card in plain sight thus avoiding the need to ask for people to reach for their identification. The authorities were slammed for refusing to amend their ways, and instead, coming up with other ways to battle traffic encounters. The pouches were created in collaboration with Valerie Castile, whose son Philando was fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop in 2016, reported God.DailyDot.
Our troopers, along with several law enforcement agencies across the state, want to make it easier for drivers to store the information and for law enforcement to see when motorists are reaching for documents. pic.twitter.com/ZiCF4Ifzac— MnDPS_DPS (@MnDPS_DPS) September 16, 2021
"We are continually looking for ways to reduce deadly force encounters as these instances can be catastrophic for police officers, and community members," said Booker Hodges, the department's assistant commissioner, in a statement. The pouches will be handed out at community events by Minnesota State Patrol and St. Paul Police among other law enforcement agencies. "By working together with Ms. Castile, who has tirelessly advocated for these since her son was killed in a deadly force encounter with law enforcement, we are hoping these pouches help in some way reduce these instances, even if it's just one," added Hodges.
Philando Castile, 32, was fatally shot by an officer while he was in a car with his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter, who were also in the vehicle. Castile said she had first heard of 'not-reaching" device that was created in 2018 by a woman in Virginia. She then contacted the Minnesota Department of Public Safety with the idea in the hope of ensuring there's not "another Philando Castile anywhere in this country." Philando Castile's death sparked protests across the nation. "Safety. That is our ultimate goal. To educate kids and create different things where they will be safe and the police will be safe. It's all about safety on both ends," said Valerie Castile. "At the end of the day, everybody wants to go home."
The alternative is developing the bare minimum competency for handling firearms, so I can see why you chose this.— Jesse Clark (@PandaSalesman) September 16, 2021
The authorities faced a severe backlash over the idea. "Dear Minnesota, this is not the flex you think it is. Cops shouldn't need to see a pouch in order not to shoot," wrote the NAACP in response. Journalist Christopher Ingraham framed the introduction of the pouches to put a fresh perspective on the idea, writing, "Just so we're clear, Minnesota DPS is saying that the likelihood of its officers shooting people for complying with their orders is so high that they recommended drivers carry a special device to prevent that from happening."
Minnesota DPS's spokesperson said they were working with Castile on the project and said it was her suggestion. "Ms. Castile, who lost her son in a deadly force traffic stop shooting, came to DPS with this idea, and we worked side-by-side with Ms. Castile to make it happen," the spokesperson told Newsweek, before adding that they had also worked with her to make changes to the driver's manual last year.
Love to have to never leave home without my Please Don't Execute Me For Following Your Instructions Bag. https://t.co/EaoJv2Jmep— Mike Duncan (@mikeduncan) September 16, 2021
Minnesota DPS detailed the efforts on Twitter. "Our troopers, along with several law enforcement agencies across the state, want to make it easier for drivers to store the information and for law enforcement to see when motorists are reaching for documents," they said. Many criticized the cops for not seeking to cut out their own fallacies but finding other means to shift the responsibility of the traffic encounters. Each pouch is priced at $10 and can also be found at notreaching.com.
"Lets just train the population so they don't get murdered as much, maybe. The police has an innate need to murder, nothing we can do there" https://t.co/fZ9RVAn4pP— Immune to Bullshit (@Rody99854987) September 17, 2021
Because not killing black people is really, really hard. https://t.co/fkLrqEyqq3— Chelsea (@TheChelseaNS) September 17, 2021