A police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota reportedly shot and killed Philando Castile after a routine traffic stop on Wednesday night. The case may never have received media attention if Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, hadn’t documented the immediate aftermath and uploaded the footage to Facebook. The St. Anthony police department’s initial statement noted that “shots were fired” and that an unnamed victim was deceased, but details were kept to a minimum.
Thursday morning saw Castile’s mother appear on CNN’s New Day to condemn police actions. Valerie Castile learned of her son’s plight after her daughter saw the video circulating online. She rushed to see Philando because she didn’t want him to die alone, but was never allowed to see his body. Philando’s uncle, Clarence, watched the video and saw his nephew “clinging to his life, with no help.” Clarence also remarked, “This man was so docile and laid back, it’s incredible how anybody could mistake that.” This claim is supported by one parent from the school where Castile was employed, who wrote on Facebook, “This is a GOOD man.”
Valerie discussed how she raised her children to believe that “police were there to help.” After her son’s death, she now sees his senseless shooting as motivated by race. She believes it’s time for America to accept that profiling exists. “We’re being hunted every day,” she continued. “It’s a silent war against African-American people as a whole.” Then Valerie and Clarence call out the disturbing trend of police walking free after killing young black men (and still drawing a paycheck on administrative leave): “A lot of our African-American men, women and children are being executed by the police. And there are no consequences.””
The day after Alton Sterling’s wife called for justice after her husband’s death, Valerie Castile agrees: “I believe because everyone is getting acquitted it’s like open season. If you don’t hold people accountable for what they do, then they feel like they can just do anything.”