The periodic nature of these incidents is stomach-churning.
Castile was pulled over for a broken taillight, told a police officer he had a conceal carry permit for a firearm before reaching for his wallet, but was shot four times with his fiance and her four-year-old daughter in the car with him.
Castile’s fiance, Diamond Reynolds, live streamed the entire incident on Facebook.
Valerie and Clarence Castile, his mother and uncle, appeared on CNN Thursday morning to discuss the aftermath of the shooting and what the family was experiencing. Valerie Castile said that she and her son previously had a conversation about this exact scenario occurring:
“That was something we always discussed: comply. That's the key thing — the key thing in order to try to survive being stopped by the police, is to comply. Whatever they ask you to do, do it. Don't say nothing. Just do whatever they want you to do. So what's the difference in complying, and you get killed anyway?"
This perspective is incredibly distressing, giving voice to the systemic, root issue behind the constant cases of police shooting unarmed black men who pose no threat to them.
The notion that black parents must have this necessary conversation with their children about survival is appalling in itself, but it is even more alarming when compounded with the fact that a black individual’s behavior may have no influence on the outcome—Castile did all the right things and was killed anyway.
Castile’s uncle spoke candidly about his thoughts of the police officer: “I saw my nephew shot by a man, clinging to his life, with no help ... It was the most horrific thing I've ever seen in my life. He's not an officer, he's just a man. An officer is supposed to protect and serve. He's not an officer, that was a man who did that. That man is a destroyer."
The police officer involved will likely face no real punishment. Of the major police brutality incidents that have occurred in the past few years, not one officer has been convicted.
Singer John Legend put it well: “We should not have to jump through hoops to prove black people shouldn't be shot by police during routine traffic stops.”
We should not have to jump through hoops to prove black people shouldn't be shot by police during routine traffic stops.— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 7, 2016
Something drastic needs to change, and soon.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters