Friday 20 April 2018

Mum films shock video as boyfriend shot dead in car by police

A crowd at the scene of the shooting in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Photo: AP
A crowd at the scene of the shooting in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Photo: AP
Philando Castile (Facebook )

Rachael Alexander in Minneapolis

A Minneapolis police officer fatally shot a black man on Wednesday during a traffic stop, with the aftermath of the incident live-streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend, who said he had been reaching for his licence.

The 'Minneapolis Star' newspaper reported relatives and friends identified the man as Philando Castile (32). Castile was a cafeteria supervisor at a school in the St Paul district, according to the paper.

The aftermath of the attack was captured by his girlfriend on her camera phone.

"Oh my God, please don't tell me he's dead, please don't tell me my boyfriend just went like that ... You shot four bullets into him, sir," the woman, identified on her Facebook page as Lavish Reynolds, is heard saying.

Castile can be seen in the driver seat, large blood stains spreading through his white shirt. Ms Reynolds was sitting in the front passenger seat. Her young daughter was also travelling in the car.


Lavish Reynolds, the girlfriend of Philando Castile, who was in the car with her daughter when he was shot dead
Lavish Reynolds, the girlfriend of Philando Castile, who was in the car with her daughter when he was shot dead

The latest incident came hours after the US Justice Department said it had opened an investigation into two police officers fatally shooting a black man in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday.

The use of force by police against African-Americans in cities from Ferguson, Missouri, to Baltimore and New York has come under heavy scrutiny.

Castile's mother expressed shock. "I never once in my life would have thought that my son would be killed by the persons that were supposed to protect and serve him," Valerie Castile said on CNN.

In the video of the Falcon Heights killing, broadcast on Facebook Live and already viewed more than 1.7 million times, Ms Reynolds says the car was pulled over for a broken tail light. She later says there was also marijuana in the car.

The video was briefly removed from Facebook, which a spokesman attributed to a glitch.

"We're very sorry that the video was inaccessible," Facebook said. "It was down to a technical glitch and restored as soon as we were able to investigate."

The video has since been restored with a "Warning - graphic video" notice.

The St Anthony Police Department said in a statement an unidentified black man was wounded in an officer-involved shooting during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, at 9pm local time.

The man was taken to the hospital where he later died, police said.

Police said the incident was being investigated and a handgun was recovered at the scene.

Castile "was trying to get out 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", Ms Reynolds says in the video. "He just shot his arm off."

She says the police officer, who has not yet been identified, was "Chinese".

With Castile moaning and gasping for air, the police officer pointed his gun through the car window.

"F***. I told him not to reach for it," a distraught man is heard screaming in the video.

For much of the nearly 10-minute video, Ms Reynolds can be heard wailing, off and on camera, as police apparently cast her phone to the side at one point and later handcuff her, so she can not hold the mobile phone up.

In a poignant moment toward the end of the video, Ms Reynolds's four-year-old daughter can be heard reassuring her deeply distraught mother.

"It's ok, mommy," says the girl sweetly. "It's ok, I'm right here with you."

A Facebook page set up by supporters, Justice for Philando Castile, said: "Philando Castile was murdered by police on 7/6/2016. We demand justice!"

Local media showed protesters yesterday morning gathered outside of the mansion of Governor Mark Dayton in St Paul, Minnesota, about 16km south-east of the scene of the incident.

Irish Independent

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