Gov. Mark Dayton pleaded for calm and understanding amid outbreaks of violence in the Twin Cities and nationally.
Speaking to reporters at the Capitol, Dayton also defended his observation a day earlier that racism seemed to be a factor in the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights on Thursday evening. He admitted he heard criticism from some law enforcement officials for suggesting as much in public.
"I stand by what I said yesterday based on the information I had," Dayton said. "I don't have any new information."
Dayton opened his remarks by bemoaning the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas late Thursday, which happened just as Castile's shooting was reverberating across Minnesota and the nation.
"We're starkly reminded by what happened in Dallas how law enforcement men and women risk their lives day and night to keep us safe," Dayton said.
Then Dayton touched on the latest local outbreak of violence, the death of a 2-year-old child in north Minneapolis apparently hit by stray bullets. A 15-month-old child was also hit but expected to live.
"I make an appeal to everyone in Minnesota for calm, for understanding at this difficult time," Dayton said.
The DFL governor has been close to the fallout of Castile's fatal shooting since protesters descended on his Summit Ave. residence just hours after it happened. Dayton said at a press conference on Thursday that he didn't think Castile would have been shot had he been white.
The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation will investigate Castile's shooting, and Dayton said he does not think his own comments about the case would taint that investigation.
"They are professionals, they're separate from me, they have an obligation that they take very, very seriously to go without bias or prejudice into the facts and extricate the facts as best as they possibly can, and present that to the Ramsey County attorney," Dayton said. "I don't think my comments are going to be influential or should be influential on how they conduct their investigation or what their conclusions are."
Dayton wouldn't say who in law enforcement he heard from. "Some expressed their displeasure, for sure," he said. "It's a very emotionally charged issue for people who have involvement from all perspectives."
Dayton said the Justice Department had been "vague" about what role it might play in inquiries into the shooting. But he also said he was of the understanding that Justice Department officials were already closely monitoring the case and would be readily available to BCA investigators.
Protesters remained outside Dayton's official residence into Friday. Dayton met with family members of Castile and other protesters several times on Thursday amid the demonstrations. He said he felt an obligation to be available, and said they are welcome to stay there as long as they want.