Diamond Reynolds captured graphic video of boyfriend Philando Castile after he was shot and killed by a police officer in Falcon Heights, but it was Reynolds who ended up in handcuffs as she pleaded with officers to explain the seemingly senseless shooting.
The killing of Philando Castile sparked immediate outrage across the nation late on Wednesday night, and it was due in large part to the actions of Reynolds. She was in the car with Castile when they were reportedly pulled over in the St. Paul, Minnesota, suburb for driving a car with a broken taillight, CBS Minnesota reported.
While what happened next wasn’t captured on video, Diamond Reynolds turned on her cell phone to record the aftermath of a police shooting that left Philando Castile bleeding and close to death.
The video, which was uploaded to Facebook under the name Lavish Reynolds and quickly went viral, showed Reynolds pleading with officers to explain why they shot her boyfriend for what appeared to be no reason.
Stay with me. We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back and he’s covered … they killed my boyfriend. He’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out 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 video Diamond Reynolds captured of the Falcon Heights shooting was taken down from Facebook, but by then it had spread quickly around the internet, garnering tens of millions of views and shares across social media.
The video — equally tragic and graphic — showed Diamond Reynolds as a calm counterpoint to the police officer, who could be heard frantically yelling that he told Castile to keep his hands in view.
“I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand out …” he screamed
“You told him to get his I.D., sir, his driver’s license,” Diamond Reynolds answered calmly.
The shooting came in the wake of another officer-involved shooting captured on video. In Baton Rouge, another bystander video captured police shooting and killing Alton Sterling, a man who had been selling CDs in a convenience store parking lot.
As The Daily Beast noted, both killings were able to go viral thanks almost entirely to these videos, which allowed viewers across the world to see the circumstances of the shooting and make judgments on their own without any potential spin from police departments.
The ubiquitous nature of smartphones with video capability has delivered new insight into police violence. Unlike police body camera images, which are subject with Freedom of Information Act requests in most jurisdictions, bystander video is often directly uploaded to the internet where it can be viewed and shared unfettered. That means cases like Sterling’s and that of Reynolds’s boyfriend see the light of day in a speedier and unedited manner.
Wednesday’s shooting sparked even more outrage after word that Diamond Reynolds was arrested following the incident. Many called for her release and demanded to know for what reason she might have been detained in the first place.
Diamond Reynolds was reportedly released within hours of the shooting, and it isn’t known whether she might face any charges related to the traffic stop. In the video, Reynolds could be heard admitting that the couple had a small amount of marijuana in the car in addition to having a broken taillight.
But even as she was in custody, the video Diamond Reynolds shared of Philando Castile dying sparked a giant backlash. Dozens of people gathered at the scene of the shooting and remained through the night in a protest that was angry but largely peaceful. A separate crowd gathered at the home of Minnesota Mark Dayton at 5 a.m, chanting Philando Castile’s name and telling the governor to wake up.
[Image via Facebook/Lavish Reynolds]