FALCON HEIGHTS Minn. – Thirty-two-year-old Philando Castile is dead and a community is outraged following a Wednesday evening (July 6) officer involved shooting in Falcon Heights, near the gates to Minnesota State Fair grounds.
The shooting involved an officer from the St. Anthony Police Department. That officer’s name has not been released.
The immediate aftermath of the shooting was posted to Facebook Live by Diamond Reynolds, who was seated next to Castile and showed him covered in blood next to her. It appears that Castile was still alive at the time of the posting. He was later pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center. Reynolds said Castile was pulled over for a broken vehicle light. Reynolds’ four-year-old daughter was also in the car at the time of the shooting.
According to Reynolds, Castile alerted the officer that he had a licensed handgun. She said when the officer asked him for identification and he tried to produce it the officer shot several times, striking the victim.
“He (the officer) asked my boyfriend (Castile) for identification and when he went to get his wallet the officer shot,” said Reynolds during a Thursday morning press conference outside of the residence of Gov. Mark Dayton in St. Paul. “Not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, but five times.”
During the press conference Dayton said he too was demanding justice in this case.
“I was shocked and horrified by what happened last night. This kind of (officer) behavior is unacceptable,” said Dayton, who said he has been in contact with officials from the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the killing. “Justice will be served in Minnesota.”
While the governor’s words seemed to be aligned with those calling for justice, many called for direct accountability from Dayton.
“This hits close to home because I was just with Lando last week. I can’t say I appreciate anything the governor says because this is the third time I’ve been to your house because of my people being murdered,” said Pastor Danny Givens. “I keep coming here because your people keep murdering my people. To my faith leaders out here I’m done praying. I’m about action.”
As Givens spoke, Reynolds broke into tears and screamed, “They took my best friend away from me.”
Nearby, her four-year-old daughter said, “My mommy is sad.”
Almost immediately after the video was posted, a large crowd of protesters gathered alongside Larpenteur Avenue near Snelling Avenue – the location of the shooting. Many were somber, holding signs and candles while others were highly vocal, yelling to the police who were on scene investigating the shooting.
“I don’t know that man from Adam, but I’m hurting. That could have been me,” yelled Devonta Brown. Brown then produced his Minnesota permit to carry card and said “This card don’t mean a damn thing if you’re Black, not a damn thing.”
Brown then paused and said, “A little girl had to see that. A little girl was in the car.”
Protesters remained on the scene until investigators concluded their work, approximately 1:45 a.m. Thursday morning. Many in the crowd moved from the sidewalk to the street blocking the tow truck that was carrying the car in which Castile was killed.
At this time police officials are not commenting much saying the incident is part of an ongoing investigation.
This shooting comes just one day after the video captured police killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La. In that incident the Justice Department immediately launched an investigation to see if the shooting rose to the level of a criminal violation of Sterling’s civil rights. The officers in Baton Rouge are white and Sterling was Black. Castile was Black. It is not yet clear the ethnicity of the officer who shot Castile, but Reynolds described him as being Asian.