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Sunday 25 February 2018

Aftermath of black man's fatal shooting in Minnesota posted on Facebook Live

A car at the scene of the shooting in Minnesota (AP)
A car at the scene of the shooting in Minnesota (AP)

A video has emerged on Facebook Live of the aftermath of a fatal shooting of a black man in Minnesota by a police officer during a traffic stop.

The video appears to show a woman sitting in the passenger seat of a car next to a bloodied man who had apparently been shot by a police officer standing outside the vehicle.

The woman in the video, which was posted on Wednesday night, says her boyfriend let the officer know that he had a firearm which he was licensed to carry and he was reaching into his pocket to retrieve his wallet. She said the officer then shot her boyfriend four times.

The incident follows the fatal shooting of another black man who was shot as he scuffled with two white police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In the video the woman describes being pulled over for a "busted tail light".

A clearly distraught person who appears to be the armed police officer stands at the car's window, telling the woman to keep her hands where they are and intermittently swearing.

The woman in the video said the man she identified as her boyfriend was reaching for his ID and wallet when the officer shot him. Police said in a statement that a handgun was recovered from the scene.

The officer tells her to keep her hands up and says: "I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand out."

The woman responds saying: "You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir."

The video goes on to show the woman exiting the car and being handcuffed. A young girl can be seen and is heard saying "I'm scared, mommy" at one point.

The woman describes being put in the back seat of the police car and says: "The police just shot my boyfriend for no apparent reason."

The man, named by relatives as Philando Castile, died minutes after arriving at hospital following the incident in the Falcon Heights suburb of the state capital, St Paul.

St Anthony Police interim police chief Jon Mangseth said the incident began when an officer pulled over a vehicle at around 9pm local time in the St Paul suburb of Falcon Heights on Wednesday.

Mr Mangseth said he did not have details about the reason for the traffic stop, but that at some point shots were fired. The man was struck but no one else was injured, he said.

As word of the shooting and video spread, relatives of the man joined scores of people who gathered at the scene of the shooting and outside the hospital where Mr Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori school, died.

Speaking to US new channel CNN early on Thursday, Mr Castile's mother said she suspected she would never learn the whole truth about her son's death.

Valerie Castile said: "I think he was just black in the wrong place."

She added that she had told her children that they must do what authorities tell them to do in order to survive.

Police have not released details on the ethnicity or service record of the police officer involved but said he has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Mrs Castile said: "I know my son ... we know black people have been killed ... I always told them, whatever you do when you get stopped by police, comply, comply, comply."

Police use of force, particularly against minorities, has returned to the national spotlight in the US since the video-recorded fatal shooting earlier this week of 37-year-old Alton Sterling by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The US Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting, which took place after Mr Sterling, who was black, fought with two white police officers outside a small supermarket.

Mr Castile's cousin, Antonio Johnson, told reporters he believed that because his cousin was a black man driving in Falcon Heights, a largely middle-class suburb, he "was immediately criminally profiled".

The site of the shooting in Falcon Heights is close to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and not far from a clutch of fields associated with the University of Minnesota's agricultural campus.

Late on Wednesday, around 200 protesters chanted and demanded action from Democratic governor Mark Dayton outside his mansion in nearby St Paul. By Thursday morning, around 50 protesters remained outside the mansion despite light rain.

Mr Castile's nephew Clarence spoke to reporters from the Hennepin County Medical Centre, where his nephew died.

He said Mr Castile had worked in the JJ Hill school cafeteria for 12 to 15 years, "cooking for the little kids". He said his nephew was "a good kid" who grew up in St Paul.

Minnesota court records online show Mr Castile had some misdemeanor violations, mainly related to driving.


Press Association

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