The U.S. Justice Department said Friday it will continue to monitor the case in Minnesota where a man as fatally shot by a police officer while in his vehicle Wednesday night.
Philando Castile, a black 32-year-old public school employee, was pronounced dead minutes after arriving at the hospital.
“The Department of Justice will continue to monitor the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation into the death of Philando Castile and stands ready to provide assistance to the bureau as needed,” David Jacobs, Justice Department spokesman, said.
The St. Anthony, Minnesota Police Department, which covers the community of Falcon Heights where the shooting took place, released a statement saying that the officer in question had been put on "standard" paid leave, but did not elaborate on the incident. Interim police Chief Jon Mangseth read the brief statement at a press briefing early Thursday and did not take any questions.
Jacobs added that the Justice Department is prepared to conduct further investigation and “consider this matter under applicable federal law.”
The department, however, is taking another approach on the case of Alton Sterling, a black man who was fatally shot by police in the southern state of Louisiana.
Jacobs said the Federal Bureau of Investigation's New Orleans Division, the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana have opened a civil rights investigation into Sterling’s death.
“The Justice Department will collect all available facts and evidence and conduct a fair, thorough and impartial investigation. As this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time,” he said.
Videos of the incident have circulated widely online and sparked nationwide outrage as well as protests and vigils in the city of Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana.
On Thursday, protests with more than 1,000 people took place in Minnesota, Illinois and Texas.
But in Dallas, Texas, these protests turned violent when at least one sniper killed 5 police officers and wounded seven -the deadliest attack on officers since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.