The family of Philando Castile will be filing a civil lawsuit that will seek justice for his shooting death and also push for "systemic changes" to law enforcement to prevent violence and bias at the hands of police, Castile's mother and the attorney representing his family said at a Tuesday press conference, per the Pioneer Press. "We're going to sue whoever's responsible," said lawyer Glenda Hatchett, adding that they wouldn't be depending on the state's own probe to assist them. Hatchett, a 65-year-old former Georgia judge in Fulton County who used to sit behind the bench on the reality court show Judge Hatchett, noted the family will also press for criminal charges to be lobbied against officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot Castile during the July 6 traffic stop. "Valerie Castile and her family are very passionate and committed to ensuring that Philando's death is not just another statistic," Hatchett said in a press release, per KARE 11.
"I am deeply concerned about what seems to be an epidemic of African-American men being killed by police officers," Hatchett said in a statement from her Atlanta-based law firm, per NBC News, adding she took on Castile's case "to make sure that working class people have a legal dream team," 11Alive notes. Hatchett also addressed reports of police dispatch audio from the night Castile was killed, noting she hasn't confirmed the audio is genuine but that if true, IDing a black man with a "wide-set nose" is about as helpful in tracking down a suspect as IDing a white woman with blond hair. Castile's mother, Valerie, also spoke at the press conference on the grounds of Minnesota's State Capitol in St. Paul, calling her son a "humanitarian" and "pillar in the community," per the New York Daily News. "In what country being honest and telling the truth will get you killed," she said. "You answer that one for me." (Watch Hatchett's entire presser at 11Alive.)