Less than 48 hours after videos of the shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana were posted to social media, a harrowing new video emerged of a woman whose boyfriend had just been shot by police during a traffic stop.
Lavish Reynolds, the girlfriend of 32-year-old Philando Castile, began live streaming a video of herself and her boyfriend in her car minutes after he was shot by a police officer through the window of her front seat. The video, taken in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, was posted to Facebook Live at approximately 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
“We got pulled over for a busted taillight in the back,” Reynolds begins. “And the police just -he’s covered, they killed my boyfriend, he’s licensed to carry and he was trying to get his ID and his wallet out his back pocket, and he let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm.”
Castile is seen in the background, moaning and losing consciousness. The officer sounds frustrated, yelling at Reynolds to stay put and saying, “I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hands up!” Reynolds responded calmly, “You told him to get his ID, sir, his driver’s license.”
“Oh my God. Please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that,” Reynolds said, facing the camera, continuing, “Please don’t tell me this lord, please Jesus don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please, officer, don’t tell me you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration sir.”
The cops then ordered Reynolds to get out of the car and walk toward the police car they had waiting. A child’s voice is heard in the video.
“They threw my phone, Facebook,” Reynolds is heard saying as her camera faced the sky. She is heard sobbing, “please don’t tell me that he’s gone.”
As she is sitting in the back seat of the cop’s car, the video shows, Reynolds continues to relate what was happening:
We[‘re] in the back seat of the police car. Sister call me, the police just shot my boyfriend for no apparent reason. My phone is about to die. They shot him. He shot him three times because he had a busted taillight. He asked him for license and registration. He told the man that it was in his wallet but he had a pistol on him because he is licensed to carry. And the officer told him don’t move and as he was putting his hands back up the officer shot him in his arm about four or five times.
She continued to describe where she was and asked her sister to pick her up from the police station. “We had a busted tail light and we have some weed in the car. That’s about it.”
Reynolds began profiling the officer. “It was a Chinese police officer that shot him. He’s Chinese, he’s about five-five, five-six and a half, heavy set guy.” She faced the camera toward the window and pointed out the police officer who did it, then broke into tears. Her daughter sat next to her and comforted her as she urged her viewers to pray for her and pick her up from the scene.
Footage from last night’s shooting, by all accounts, reflected a tragic scene. Full details of the federal investigation into Castile shooting are still unraveling. Here are seven details you should know:
1. Castile was a licensed gun carrier at the time of his death, according to family members.
“He let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” his girlfriend said.
In a CNN interview this morning, Castile’s mother said she had always warned her son to carry only with a license. She added that earlier that day her son and daughter “had a conversation about the concealed carry permits that they both had, and they were saying that – to be cautious -and my daughter said, ‘You know what? I don’t even want to carry a gun because I’m afraid that they’ll shoot me first and then ask questions later.'”
During a news briefing this morning, officials confirmed that a handgun had been recovered from Castile’s body.
2. Castile was pronounced dead shortly after the video was taken, at a local Minneapolis hospital.
A family member of Castile told the Washington Post that he was dead, and police confirmed his death later in a press release.
3. A federal investigation into the shooting is underway, state officials say.
In a press statement, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (D) said he had asked White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, to ask that the Justice Department begin a federal investigation into the shooting. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has begun an investigation of the shooting, police confirmed this morning.
FBI director James Comey said he expects the agency to get involved in the pending investigation.
4. Castile and Reynolds were pulled over for a broken tail light, according to Reynolds.
“We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back,” she had said. Police have yet to confirm this.
5. This was the first officer-involved shooting in the area for over the past 30 years, police say.
Sgt. Jon Mangseth, interim chief at the St. Anthony Police Department, said this was the first shooting that he could remember in the department’s history. “We haven’t had an officer-involved shooting in 30 years or more. I’d have to go back in the history books, to tell you the truth,” he said, adding that the details of the shooting were unclear.
“Please, officer, don’t tell me you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration sir.”
Lavish Reynolds, girlfriend of Philando Castile
6. The officer who shot Castile was placed on administrative leave, as per standard policy in officer-involved shootings.
Mangseth told reporters that the officer who had shot Castile had been working for the department “in excess of 5 years.” The race of the officer has not been confirmed by officials, but Reynolds described him as “Chinese.”
7. Castile was said to have no major criminal history.
Sources pointing to his Facebook profile say he often made political statements, such as posting a Black Panthers photo accompanied with a Malcolm X quote, “BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.” In another post he had quoted 2pac, “They got money for wars but can’t feed the poor.”
According to the Star Tribune, “Minnesota court records show only misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors on Philando Castile’s record.”
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