Philando Castile’s death was a homicide according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, as reported by Raw Story. Castile died while sitting with his seat belt on and fiancé and child in tow when they were stopped in the Falcon Heights area for a broken tail light. Officer Jeronimo Yanez and Officer Joseph Kauser, who have both been on the force for four years, have been identified as the officers involved in Castile’s murder.
According to ABC News, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension states that Yanez approached Philando Castile’s car from the driver’s side during the stop in Falcon Heights Wednesday night, and Kauser approached from the passenger side. Yanez opened fire, striking Castile multiple times. Jeronimo Yanez’s attorney Thomas Kelly has yet to comment on the case.
The country was still reeling over the officer-involved death of Alton Sterling, who died less than 24-hours prior to Castile’s death from an officer involved shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
According to his fiancé, Diamond Reynolds, they were doing exactly what Officer Yanez asked — as confusing as his instruction were — when Philando Castile was shot multiple times while reaching for his license. Reynolds said that they were instructed to put their hands in the air and at the same time, Yanez told Castile to get his license and registration. As Castile reached in his right back pocket for his license, he informed the officer that he had a firearm, which he had a license to carry. That is when Officer Yanez shot him five times.
“I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand off it.”
Reynolds remained calm while still live streaming and contradicted the officer calmly, while clearly was in a state of disbelief.
“You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”
This finding comes to no surprise to anyone viewing the video, and looking at the face of Minnesota’s governor Mark Dayton, who truly looked appalled and disgusted, this isn’t something that is going to be dismissed as a justified police shooting.
“No one should be shot in Minnesota for a taillight being out of function. No one should be killed in Minnesota while seated in their car.”
While Officer Jerimino and Officer Joseph Kauser sit at home on paid leave, Castile’s family and loved ones struggle to understand why they have suddenly become a statistic; the victims of another unprovoked murder of a black man.
Castile was a kitchen supervisor for the Saint Paul Public School system and was described as “quiet, respectful, and kind,” by a coworker, according to NBC News.
What’s truly amazing is the strength of Diamond Reynolds’ and their four-year-old daughter — who remained calm and cognizant enough to record the aftermath of the shooting, and his four-year-old daughter’s words of encouragement and comfort to her mother once she was able to grasp what took place and finally broke down. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton brought home the sad state of affairs.
“Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver were white? I don’t think it would have.”
Governor Dayton’s statements indicating that race played a part in Philando Castile’s death and that he has been approached by several “distinguished African-Americans” with similar tales of unfair treatment by police officers, indicates that he is acknowledging that the actions of Jeronimo Yanez were unjustified and that racism in his state and within law enforcement exists, reports Inquisitr. This revelation is something that Diamond Reynolds knows first hand; she was the person sitting in the car with her daughter, as Philando Castile quickly became the latest homicide victim courtesy of Officer Jeronimo Yanez.
[Stephen Maturen/Getty Images]