Death of Philando Castile, another fatal shooting by police, draws condemnation
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Police are again under scrutiny tonight over the deadly use of force against minorities. That’s after the second fatal shooting in as many days.
This time, it happened in the town of Falcon Heights, Minnesota, just outside St. Paul, the state capital.
REV. BRIAN C. HERRON, Zion Baptist Church: He didn’t deserve to die!
HARI SREENIVASAN: Emotions ran high outside the governor’s mansion in St. Paul this morning.
REV. BRIAN C. HERRON: Why do we have to keep saying we’re human? It’s time for us as a people to collectively come together and begin to work together on these issues unafraid, not fearing anything or anybody.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In this latest incident, an officer shot 32-year-old Philando Castile in his car after pulling him over for a broken tail light. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, then live-streamed the aftermath on Facebook, with her young daughter in the backseat. The victim could be seen bloodied and slumped in his seat, as Reynolds narrated that Castile was legally carrying a gun.
DIAMOND REYNOLDS, Shooting Victim’s Girlfriend: He’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his I.D. and his wallet out of his pocket and he let the officer know that he was — he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet.
And the officer just shot him in his arm.
HARI SREENIVASAN: More and more people viewed the chilling video overnight, and hundreds of protesters gathered outside the governor’s mansion in St. Paul.
By morning, Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, announced he’s seeking a federal civil rights investigation.
But to many in the crowd, including the Reverend Danny Givens, those words rang hollow.
REV. DANNY GIVENS, Above Every Name Ministries: You keep telling us you’re going to do something. I have sat at the table with you. I just wish you would put some action on it. Put some respect on our people’s name. That’s all I want. I just want it to be real.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Castile’s girlfriend was also at the rally, and directed her frustration at police.
DIAMOND REYNOLDS: They did not check for pulse on the scene of the crime. They didn’t make sure that he was breathing. They instantly rushed their colleague off to the side, where they comforted him.
HARI SREENIVASAN: This afternoon, the governor stepped up his condemnation of police conduct in the incident.
GOV. MARK DAYTON (D), Minnesota: Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passenger, were white? I don’t think it would have. So I am forced to confront and I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront that this kind of racism exists.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Police officials did not identify the officer, except to say he’s been on paid administrative leave. But friends and family of Philando Castile spoke of him as a beloved cafeteria supervisor at a school in St. Paul. A Black Lives Matter sign hung there today and teachers and staff from the school took part in the protest at the governor’s mansion.
MAN: Enough is enough.
JOHN HORTON, Teacher, J.J. Hill Montessori School: Our community needs to hear from everybody in the community that this isn’t OK and we need to make sure that all lives matter, and the fact that it’s a traffic stop. Things can escalate, but maybe this could have been prevented.
ADDIE SEE, Social Worker, J.J. Hill Montessori School: He was just so patient. And even when kids were coming in late or dropping trays or getting jammed in that line, you know, I watched him and he just was so patient and calm with the kids.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The Minnesota shooting came just one day after a white officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, fatally shot Alton Sterling outside a convenience store.
As protests there continue, Louisiana’s governor has asked for a federal civil rights investigation into that killing. And at a House hearing today, a leading black congressman urged FBI Director James Comey to take action.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), Maryland: I am a lawyer. And I know how important police are, and I know there’s so many great folks, but, Mr. Director, if you do nothing else in your 2,000-plus days left, you have got to help us get a hold of this issue. It is so painful.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In his own statement, President Obama said the killings show again that there’s a serious problem in relations between police and minorities.
We will explore the issue of police killings of black suspects, in greater detail, after the news summary.