"Don't Tell Me He's Dead": Aftermath of Yet Another Fatal Police Shooting of Black Man Streamed Live
Two black men are fatally shot by police in two days, and video footage of both incidents provokes nationwide outcry
As activists and civil rights groups nationwide protested Tuesday's point-blank shooting by police of a black man in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police on Wednesday shot and killed another black man in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities.
Philando Castile had been stopped by police for a broken taillight, according to his girlfriend, who broadcast the aftermath of the shooting in a graphic video that streamed live from her Facebook page.
"He's licensed to carry. He was trying to get his ID and his wallet out of his pocket and 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," the woman says in the video, which shows Castile covered in blood, holding his right arm, and slowly losing consciousness in the driver's seat.
Castile was confirmed dead on Wednesday evening.
In the video, a officer stands beside the car pointing a handgun at Castile, who appears to be unconscious, and at one point the officer shouts at the woman, "I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hands up."
"You shot four bullets into him, sir," the woman responds. "He was just getting his license and registration, sir."
"Oh my god, please don't tell me he's dead, please don't tell me my boyfriend just went like that," the woman continues, her voice sounding more and more distressed. "Please don't tell me that he's gone!"
The couple's young daughter appears to be sitting in the back seat of the car during the entire incident.
Towards the end of the eight-minute video, the woman is handcuffed and put in the back of the police car with her daughter. She says the police "have machine guns pointed," and says, "my daughter just witnessed this."
As she begins sobbing, her daughter tries to comfort her, saying, "It's okay, I'm here with you."
The woman has been identified variously as Diamond Reynolds and Diamond Taylor, while her Facebook page uses the name Lavish Reynolds. According to social media accounts, as of Thursday morning the woman was still in police custody.
Castile had been a kitchen supervisor at Saint Paul Public Schools for 12 to 15 years, local media reports. In the video, his girlfriend states that he had no criminal record.
Protesters gathered at the location of the shooting and then held an all-night vigil in front of the Minnesota governor's mansion, demanding justice for Castile.
— Tony Webster (@webster) July 7, 2016
— Leila Navidi (@LeilaNavidi) July 7, 2016
A rally continued into Thursday outside of the governor's mansion.
Civil rights groups condemned the killing, demanding justice for Castile and other victims of police violence:
— Legal Defense Fund (@NAACP_LDF) July 7, 2016
"We're demanding justice; we're demanding accountability," said Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, to the Star Tribune. "We're demanding a change to our laws and policies that allow these types of things to happen. Too often officers are taught to shoot first and ask questions last, and that's completely unacceptable."
"There is a systematic targeting of African Americans and a systematic lack of accountability," observed Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), according to the Washington Post.
"They killed my son," Castile's mother, sobbing, told the Star Tribune early Thursday morning. "They took a good man, a hard-working man."
"They killed my brother," Castile's sister, also crying, told the local paper. "They held a gun on him while he was hurting, and did nothing to help him."