Updated: September 16, 2021 05:24 PM
Created: September 16, 2021 04:23 PM
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety received heavy online backlash Thursday afternoon when the department announced a new pouch for drivers.
DPS unveiled a "Not-Reaching Pouch" that's meant to hold a driver's license and insurance card and be kept in plain sight in the vehicle. The department said the goal of the pouch is to both make it easier for drivers to store the information and for law enforcement to see what motorists are reaching for.
However, after posting about the pouches on social media, hundreds of people bashed the department for putting the onus on drivers to protect themselves from the very people who are supposed to protect them.
DPS says the pouches were created by Valerie Castile — whose son, Philando, was fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in 2016 — in partnership with Jacquelyn Carter to help reduce deadly force encounters between law enforcement and citizens during traffic stops.
The Minnesota State Patrol and other local agencies — including St. Paul, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Bloomington, St. Louis Park, Richfield, Eagan, St. Cloud, University of Minnesota and Rochester police departments, and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office — plan to hand out the pouches during community events and other contacts with citizens.
"We are continually looking for ways to reduce deadly force encounters as these instances can be catastrophic for police officers, and community members," DPS Assistant Commissioner Booker Hodges said. "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."
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