The National Rifle Association (NRA), which recently ruffled many feathers with its new disturbing recruitment ad, finally broke its yearlong silence on the police death of Philando Castile, an African-American licensed gun owner fatally shot during a traffic stop.
St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez stopped 32-year-old Castile for a broken taillight last year in July. Just as Castile was reaching for his wallet, the officer opened fire, claiming he thought Castile was reaching for his gun. Although, Castile had already told the officer he had a conceal carry permit for a firearm before reaching for his wallet, he was still shot seven times in front of his fiancé and her 4-year-old daughter, who were in the car with him.
His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, live streamed the horror on Facebook.
The NRA initially said it would make a statement on Castile’s tragic death once the investigation was concluded, which sparked a debate about the NRA not willing to protect non-white gun owners. Even after the jury acquitted Yanez, the group remained quiet on the case.
However, things took a turn after Women’s March co-organizer Tamika Mallory penned an open letter to the NRA demanding it makes a public statement on Castile’s tragic death.
During a recent appearance on CNN, NRA spokesperson and conservative radio host Dana Loesch got into a fiery argument with Mallory and refuted the claims about NRA’s silence by referencing her own alleged statements on the case.
“I’ve actually spoken out quite a bit on this. I think it’s absolutely awful,” Loesch began. “I think it’s completely unfortunate. I don't agree with every single decision that comes out from courtrooms of America. There are a lot of variables in this particular case, and there were a lot of things that I wish would have been done differently. Do I believe that Philando Castile deserved to lose his life over his [traffic] stop? I absolutely do not.”
She then brought up the NRA Carry Guard, a training and insurance program for permit holders.
“I also think that this is why we have things like NRA Carry Guard, not only to reach out to the citizens to go over what to do during stops like this, but also to work with law enforcement so that they understand what citizens are experiencing when they go through stops like this,” she continued.
Loesch made it clear she was speaking for the NRA membership.
“I just want to make sure that when individuals, when we’re pulled over, that we have our concealed carry permit card,” Loesch added. “So we don’t have someone who, perhaps, maybe doesn’t make all the right decisions when they go through a stop.”
Unfortunately, her statements make it seem as if she was implying Castile would still be alive had he known "what to do during stops like this."
Watch the interview in the video above.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters