BLACK VOICES

Cop Fatally Shoots Black Man, Leaves Victim's Girlfriend To Record Tragic Aftermath

A graphic video shows Philando Castile bleeding in the car while his girlfriend's young daughter watches.

07/07/2016 02:09 am ET | Updated Jul 08, 2016

Police shot and killed a man Wednesday in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and his girlfriend recorded the aftermath in a graphic video shot using the Facebook Live feature.

The video shows the man bleeding from gunshot wounds as his girlfriend films him from the passenger seat. The police officer “shot him three times because we had a busted tail light,” the woman filming can be heard saying.

Officials have not officially released the victim’s name, but his family identified him as Philando Castile, local news station WCCO reported. He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and relatives told The Star-Tribune he died at the hospital.

Castile’s mother Valerie told CNN that she rushed to the scene of the shooting and asked to see her son.

“I didn’t want to talk to anyone,” she said. “I just just wanted to know where my son was because I didn’t want him to die alone.”

But authorities told Castile that her son had already been taken to the hospital, and by the time she got there, he was already dead. She said she still hasn’t been able to identify his body.

“They killed my son,” she told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “They took a good man, a hard-working man.”

The 10-minute video of the incident was posted to Facebook by user Lavish Reynolds, and was removed for several hours Wednesday night before being reposted with a warning about its graphic content. 

While filming, the woman explains that the officer asked her boyfriend for his license and registration, and that he told the officer he had a pistol and was licensed to carry.

“He was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” she says. “He shot his arm off.”

“Stay with me,” she tells her boyfriend, who is visibly severely wounded.

In the video, the woman describes the police as shooting Castile between three and five times. An officer in the video can be heard saying, “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand out.” Then, officers can be heard ordering the girlfriend out of her car and seen escorting her into the back seat of a police car.

“He doesn’t have no records or anything,” Castile’s girlfriend can be heard telling the police. “He’s never been in jail, anything. He’s not a gang member, anything.”

A police officer can be seen in the background holding a young girl reported to be the woman’s 4-year-old daughter.

The camera pans to the sky for several minutes as police are heard telling the woman she’s being detained. The screen later goes dark, but the woman can still be heard, praying for her boyfriend’s life.

“They are not allowed to just kill people like this, Lord,” she said. “Please Lord, you know our rights, you know we are innocent people, Lord. We are innocent people.”

The filming briefly cuts out, then returns with the woman’s addressing the camera head-on, telling viewers she’s in the back of the police car. She explains what happened again, and begins to break down crying. 

A young girl’s voice is heard telling her, “It’s OK, I’m right here with you.”

The St. Anthony Police Department later confirmed that at least one man was injured during the traffic stop in an officer-involved shooting, according to local FOX affiliate KMSP.

A police spokesperson said during a press conference Wednesday that the shooting is currently under investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and that no officer was injured during the incident. The officer involved in the shooting was placed on paid administrative leave.

Castile’s death at the hands of police comes just a day after local cops shot another black man, Alton Sterling, in circumstances that shocked the world. Sterling was selling CDs outside a store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday when police, responding to a complaint about a man wielding a gun, tackled him in order to arrest him.

Someone yelled that Sterling had a gun and the police shot him at point-blank range while he was subdued on the ground. The shooting was captured in a graphic video that roiled the public’s conscience. The subsequent release of another video confirmed that Sterling was not have a gun in his hands at the time.

Many observers are expressing dismay at the regularity with which police kill unarmed black men in the United States.

 

The original Facebook Live video is included below. 

WARNING: The video below is extremely graphic.

This story has been updated to include new details and reactions to the shooting.

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, this article previously stated that video showed no weapon was on Alton Sterling’s person; rather, video showed he was not holding a gun at the time he was shot. Details of the video of the Philando Castile shooting have also been clarified. The piece initially said his girlfriend was sitting in the driver’s seat. However, the self-facing camera shows the incident from a reversed angle and it appears she was actually sitting on the righthand side of the car. 

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