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The Philando Castile shooting just threw into question a central belief people have about the US policing system

July 08,2016 00:06

His girlfriend said that before he was shot, he allegedly told the officer that he had a concealed weapon in his glove compartment and a license to carry it. The earliest details emerging from the shooting have led to questions about its implications ...and more »



Philando Castile with his
mother, Valerie.
Screenshot/Twitter

A 32-year-old black man whose girlfriend said was pulled over by
a Minnesota police officer for a broken tail light
was shot and killed by the officer late Wednesday night.

His girlfriend said that before he was shot, he allegedly told
the officer that he had a concealed weapon in his glove
compartment and a license to carry it.

The earliest details emerging from the shooting have led to
questions about its implications for a central belief people have
about the US policing system, as well as an assertion frequently
posited in the wake of police shootings to justify the officers'
actions: If you comply with the police, you won't be harmed.

"I've always told my son: 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," Valerie Castile, Philando Castile's
mother, said in an interview with CNN on Thursday morning.

"Don't say nothing. Just do whatever they want you to do. So
what's the difference in complying and you get killed anyway?"
she said.

Castile's girlfriend, Diamond "Lavish" Reynolds, who was in the
vehicle with her 4-year-old daughter at the time and captured the
aftermath of the shooting in a Facebook live stream, asserted in
the video that her boyfriend informed the officer — who has not
been identified — that he had a concealed weapon and a license to
carry.

"He let the officer know that he had a firearm, and he was
reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his
arm," she said.

The officer, employed by the St. Anthony's Police Department in
the Minnesota suburb of Falcon Heights, near St. Paul, could be
heard shouting expletives and screaming, "I told him not to reach
for it!"

Reynolds responded: "You told him to get his ID, sir — his
driver's license."

People protest outside of
the Minnesota governor's mansion after the fatal police shooting
of Philando Castile.

Samuel King/Fox
9

Police have not yet provided a detailed account of the incident.
St. Anthony Police Sgt. Jon Mangseth did not tell reporters the
reasons for the traffic stop, but he said that shots were fired at some point.

Chuck Drago, a former police chief in Florida with over 30 years
of experience in law enforcement and government, declined to
comment on the shooting since only the aftermath was recorded. He
noted, however, that officers are typically instructed to clearly
communicate their fears and expectations to a person who says
they have a gun.

Police "need to communicate ... that they're still very nervous.
'Listen, I know you have a gun. Do not reach for the gun. Do not
touch the gun. Where is the gun?'" Drago told Business Insider on
Thursday.

"Hopefully the person will then say, 'OK, it's in my pocket,' or
'It's on my leg.' The officer will then usually retrieve the
weapons themselves — and that's something the officer should be
communicating to them."

Many on social media have expressed their dismay over reports
about the circumstances surrounding Castile's death, despite his
apparent compliance with the officer:

In another
Facebook video posted Thursday, Reynolds told reporters that
Castile was "killed for no reason."

He did "nothing but what the police officer asked of us, which
was to put your hands in the air and get your license and
registration," she said. "He was never a bad man. He was the
quietest, most laid-back person. Nothing in his body language
said 'intimidation.' Nothing in his body language said 'shoot
me.' Nothing in his body language said, 'kill me.'"

She says she recorded the incident because she wanted to show the
world that "police are not here to protect and serve us. They are
here to assassinate us."

"I wanted everyone in the world to know how much [the police]
tamper with evidence and how much they manipulate our minds," she
said. "I wanted it to go viral so that people could determine
themselves as to what was right and what was wrong.”

She added that nobody checked Castile's pulse after he was shot,
and that the officer was "still standing there with his gun still
drawn" after he shot Castile four times.

Mangseth, an interim chief with the department,
told reporters the shooting was the first he could remember
in the department's history.

"We haven't had an officer-involved shooting in 30 years or more,
I'd have to go back in the history books," he said. "It's
shocking. It's not something that occurs in this area often."
Mangseth noted that some details of the shooting were still
unclear.

He said later Thursday morning that the officer who shot Castile
has been placed on administrative leave.

Christina Sterbenz contributed reporting.

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