Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer on Wednesday night in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. A live stream video recorded by Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, was posted to Facebook and went viral. Philando’s mother, Valerie Castile, began speaking out about her son’s death on CNN this morning.
Valerie Castile wants answers and, ultimately, justice for her son. According to Diamond Reynolds, who posted the video of the shooting on Facebook under the username Lavish Reynolds, Philando Castile was merely reaching for his wallet when he was shot. Castile was a concealed carry permit holder, a fact his girlfriend said he quickly related to the unidentified officer who shot him multiple times in the arm and upper body area.
The grieving mother and Philando Castile’s uncle, Clarence Castile, told CNN the 32-year-old man was a good citizen who worked at a local school and graduated high school with honors.
The Philando Castile shooting video can be viewed here, but be warned that it does contain graphic content.
“We are being hunted,” Valerie Castile said. “It’s a sign of war against African-American people as a whole.”
Ms. Castile also wondered if her son’s sole crime was being black and in the wrong place. Philando was the only person injured in the shooting, which occurred after a traffic stop for a busted tail light. Diamond Reynold’s daughter was also reportedly inside the car when the couple was stopped. According to Reynold’s, they were stopped by a “Chinese police officer” who told Castile to show his identification, which was in his wallet in his back pocket.
Philando was a father to five children, the Daily Mail reports.
“Everybody that knows my son knows that he is a laid back, quiet individual that works hard every day, pays taxes and comes home and plays video games. That’s it,” Valeria Castile said. “He’s not a gang banger. He’s not a thug. He’s very respectable. And I know he didn’t antagonize that officer in any way to make him feel like his life was threatened.”
— White House HBCUs (@WHI_HBCUs) July 7, 2016
Diamond Reynolds claims the St. Anthony police officer opened fire because Philando Castile was reaching for his wallet to present his driver’s license and concealed carry permit as he was instructed to do. In the video, the police officer can be heard telling Castile “not to reach.” The shooting reportedly occurred in full view of the little girl sitting in the back seat.
“We all know my nephew was a good kid and we want justice as well as relief,” Clarence Castile said. “He’s not an officer. He’s just a man. An officer is supposed to protect and serve. That was a man who did that. That man is a destroyer and he came into our lives and done something and took something from us.”
Valeria Castile said she raised her children right and taught them to respect the police, to get a permit if they want a gun for protection, and to “comply, comply, comply” if ever stopped by a law enforcement officer. She has not yet been permitted to see her son’s body but was reportedly told she could identify him before an autopsy is conducted later today.
The name of the Minnesota police officer who shot Philando Castile has not yet been released to the public. He has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation into the Minneapolis area shooting. A second officer who was also present and standing at a significant distance behind the officer involved in the shooting has not reportedly been placed on leave.
The police officer involved in the Philando Castile shooting is believed to have been on the force for five years. No details about the backup officer have been released.
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