Woman Live-Streams Aftermath of Police-Involved Shooting on Facebook
A black man was shot and killed by a police officer Wednesday night at a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and the aftermath was captured on video, triggering protests.
The man, Philando Castile, was in a car with his girlfriend and daughter, when the car was pulled over for a broken tail light. Castile told officers that he was licensed to carry a weapon, and he then reached into his pocket to pull out his ID and wallet. An officer then opened fire.
In a graphic Facebook Live video, as Castile’s head is pushed backward and lies dying, the girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, looks directly into the camera and explains that a Minnesota police officer just shot her boyfriend four times.
The footage shows Reynolds running through the course of events while a clearly bloodied Castile is seen in the background.
At one point a police officer standing outside the car window—still holding his gun—says in a strained voice, “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand up.”
“Please officer don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You just shot four bullets into him sir. He was just getting his licenstry and registration,” the girlfriend tells the officer.
After the video went viral, demonstrators have taken to the streets, led by the movement Black Lives Matter Minneapolis. Social media accounts say that protesters have amassed in front of Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s home.
Dayton released a statement on Thursday morning that says he’s asked for the Department of Justice to investigate the shooting.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and community of Philando Castile. Our state today grieves with him,” he said in the statement, adding that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension started an independent investigation into the matter.
About 200 protesters gathered at the initial site of the shooting while police were conducting their investigations, according to MPR.
At 2:15 a.m., protesters gathered outside the governor’s residence on Summit Ave. in St. Paul, demanding a response. They decorated the gates of the mansion with police tape from the crime scene, while chanting, “no justice, no peace! Prosecute the police! Wake up!”
At around 6 a.m. Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said that Dayton had left the mansion.
“We trust our government, at least we’re supposed to, to be able to hire these people who are supposed to protect and serve us and when they kill one of us without just cause, there should be accountability,” Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds told the protesters, according to a video. “People should not be executed, shot at point blank range and we’re told that it’s OK.”
The incident comes at the heels of similar cases that involve officers shooting black men, including the fatal shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge Police on Tuesday.
The case has been transferred to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is expected to release a statement on the findings of their investigation.