Falcon Heights, MN — Philando Castile, a 32-year-old employee of a St. Paul Public school, died after being shot by a St. Anthony police officer during a traffic stop. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, used her mobile phone to Facebook Live the immediate aftermath of the shooting. In the graphic 10-minute video, Castile is slumped over and covered in blood while the officer is still pointing the gun at him through the car window. Reynolds’ daughter was also in the vehicle and unharmed.
WARNING: This video contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.
On the video — which was removed from Facebook and placed on YouTube — Reynolds claims Castile was pulled over for a “busted taillight” and that he was trying to grab his license and registration when the officer shot him four times.
The officer can be heard on the recording screaming, “I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand out.” Reynolds immediately refuted that claim, “You told him to get his I.D., sir, his driver’s license.”
During the video, Reynolds said that Castile did have a gun on him because he is licensed to carry and says he wasn’t reaching for it but his wallet instead.
At one point Reynold shifts the camera to show her boyfriend in a bloodied white t-shirt. “Oh my God, please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that,” she said.
The officer order Reynolds to “Keep your hands where they are,” to which she responded, “Yes I will, sir, I will keep my hands where they are.”
She was eventually told to exit the vehicle, however Reynolds kept her camera rolling for the video to feed live on the social media network. The cellphone video shows officers with their guns drawn and one holding her daughter who was once in the back seat during the ordeal.
Castile was rushed to Hennepin County Medical center where he succumbed to his wounds. Castile’s uncle told local TV station KARE 11 that his nephew was a “upstanding young man.” His mother, Valerie Castile told WCCO that her son was a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School and that he was going to turn 33 on this coming Friday.
St. Anthony’s Interim Police Chief Jon Mangseth said he hasn’t seen the Facebook Live video. He says that the officer involved in the shooting has been on the force for five years. However, he stopped short of going into specifics of the case.
Castile’s death occurred one day after another high-profile police killing of a black man. Anthony Sterling was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police officers outside a convenient store. Sterling’s shooting caused a national outcry from the black community and news of Castile’s death may only add to that angst.
According to KARE 11, protests and vigils have already begun at the scene of Castile’s shooting. A crowd of nearly 100 people chanted, “We will stand our ground. We will not move,” as officers tried to clear the scene. Another crowd consisting of Castile’s friends and family gathered at the hospital to console each other and mourn the passing of their loved-one.