(The video contains disturbing content. Viewer discretion is advised.)
In the aftermath of the brutal murder of Philando Castile by a police officer in the suburbs of St. Paul, details are emerging about who he was.
Castile was fatally shot five times on Wednesday night by an officer who had pulled him over for allegedly having a broken taillight. He was in his car with his fiancée and her four-year-old daughter.
Castile’s fiancée—who live-streamed his death to viewers on Facebook—has been identified as Diamond Reynolds. She spoke out against Castile's murder to the media this morning.
Reynolds explained the incident that she had witnessed and broadcast. She said, "He didn't do anything. He did exactly as the police asked. I want justice."
Reynold's use of social media points towards the systemic police violence that occurs in the U.S., as she had no authorities to call to her boyfriend’s aid. Even she and her daughter were forced into the back of a police car, as she captured on video.
Castile, a 32-year-old African-American, was a dedicated employee of St. Paul Public Schools, where he had been employed as a kitchen worker for the last fourteen years. The school district issued a statement about Castile regarding how much he will be missed by the students and his co-workers:
“Colleagues describe him as a team player who maintained great relationships with staff and students alike. He had a cheerful disposition and his colleagues enjoyed working with him. He was quick to greet former coworkers with a smile and hug. One coworker said, 'Kids loved him. He was smart, over-qualified. He was quiet, respectful, and kind. I knew him as warm and funny; he called me his 'wing man.' He wore a shirt and tie to his supervisor interview and said his goal was to one day 'sit on the other side of this table.' Those who worked with him daily said he will be greatly missed.”
Minnesota's governor Mark Dayton has informed the public that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Assistance is investigating. Dayton has called upon federal authorities as well, as he expressed his disgust with the police officer's actions. He said, "Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver were white? I don't think it would have."
Protesters demanding justice for Castile gathered outside the governor’s mansion this morning. The grieving crowd was streamed on Facebook Live.
A 32-year-old Minnesota man died after being shot by a police officer during an apparent traffic stop. The aftermath of the fatal shooting was captured on Facebook Live.
The video begins with a tearful woman behind the wheel of a parked car who asks her boyfriend to stay with her. The camera then moves to her boyfriend, who writhes in agony in a blood-stained white shirt. A child is heard wailing as the woman details her version of what led to this.
"We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back," she says. "And the police just — he's covered — they just killed my boyfriend."
When asked for his license and registration, the driver clarified that he was carrying a pistol that he was licensed to carry.
"He was reaching for his wallet," she says into the phone, "and the officer just shot him in his arm."
At this point, an obviously perturbed police officer yells his side of the story.
"F***! I told him not to reach for it!" says the officer, his handgun still pointed at the passenger. "I told him to keep his hand open!"
The victim is shown nearing his end. His breath comes out in tortured gusts, and he falls silent.
"Please, no! Don't let him be gone, Lord!" the woman laments.
Falcon Heights, MN: Cop pulled over & shot black man. Brought to hospital. Upsetting footage. Across from my apt. pic.twitter.com/fgRczvxEMK— skeletal trash lord (@skeletontrash) July 7, 2016
The man was identified as Philando Castile, and succumbed to his injuries in the hospital a little while later. Castile, 32, was cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hills Montessori School.
The video was uploaded on Facebook Live from an account belonging to Lavish Reynolds. The page was later deleted, but not before the video had already gone viral.
A press release issued by St. Anthony Police offered scant information.
“A handgun was recovered from the scene,” it read after confirming Castile's death. The incident will now be investigated.
It is not hard to see why a non-threatening gesture would have riled the officer so much. Castile was black, and the melanin in his skin was enough to affirm his crime.
One of my coworkers texted to tell me about the shooting in Falcon Heights. As a Black woman, she's scared of this world.— j garcia (@jasoncomix) July 7, 2016
Many can only think of the couple's child.
Others are rightly worried about the woman who shot the video, who was last seen getting out of the car on the officer's instructions.
And many have vowed to #SayHisName, and not let him be another victim erased from our collective memory.
Philando Castile.— BlackLivesMatter YVR (@BLM_Van) July 7, 2016
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters