As the investigation into Philando Castile’s death unravels and controversy ensues over what happened last week, here are some details we thought you might like to know:
1. Castile was pulled over for more than a broken tail light.
In the Facebook live video circulated last week by Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds in the aftermath of Castile’s death, she told her viewers that Castile was “shot for no reason” and pulled over for a broken tail light. Reynolds added that the cop who pulled Castile over was “Chinese,” and that he shot him because he was black.
The cop, Jeronimo Yanez, was put on administrative leave as per standard policy regarding officer-involved shootings.
“I can tell you that the stop of the vehicle for an equipment violation was not the only reason for the stop,” Yanez’s lawyer, Thomas Kelly, told Fox 9 News.
In a press statement last week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (D) told reporters he saw Castile’s shooting as an act of racism that would not have occurred if the the driver were white.
“The governor did not have all the information when he was called upon to make the remarks,” Kelly said. “He only had a very limited perspective on this. In my opinion, and in the opinion of others, this use of deadly force would have occurred regardless of the race of the driver.”
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension wrote:
At approximately 9:05 p.m. Wednesday, the two St. Anthony police officers conducted a traffic stop near the intersection of Larpenteur Avenue West and Fry Street in Falcon Heights. Castile was the driver of that vehicle. Officer Yanez approached the vehicle from the driver’s side and Officer Kauser from the passenger side. At one point during the interaction, Officer Yanez discharged his weapon, striking Castile multiple times. No one else was injured. A gun was recovered at the scene.
A press release from the St. Anthony Police Department indicated two armed men had robbed the Super USA store on the 2400 block of Larpenter Avenue in Lauderdale at around 7:30 p.m. on July 5th. Some sources are connecting Castile’s shooting with the armed robbery, based on audio recordings and surveillance photos that look like Castile. The following are surveillance photos of the men involved in the armed robbery:
A police audio recording recovered by KARE 11 News indicates two officers had been searching for the crime suspects and thought they had found one of them.
“I’m going to stop a car,” one officer is heard saying. “I’m going to check IDs. I have reason to pull it over.”
“The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery… The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide set nose,” the officer continues.
Officer: “Shots fired Larpenteur and Fry.”
Dispatch: “Copy you just heard it? … You just heard the shots fired?”
Officer: (screaming) “Code 3! Shots fired.”
Dispatch: “Copy shots fired Larpenteur and Fry. Do you need medics?”
Officer: “Code 3!”
Dispatch: “Copy. Medics — code 3 to Larpenteur and Fry.”
Officer: “One adult female taken into custody. Driver at gunpoint.”
Police have not confirmed whether this audio had anything to do with Castile’s case or a different investigation.
2. Castile had a valid carry permit at the time of his death.
The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office denied issuing a carry permit to Castile, and the public assumed it meant he didn’t have one.
However, Kelly told Fox 9 Castile “had a permit to carry a gun. The officer did not know that at the time of the shooting, and he did not know with any certainty whether the gun was present with a permit or not a permit.”
Reynolds emphatically backed this claim in her video and repeatedly afterward.
“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,” she said.
“Regardless of whether it was permitted or not, the actions of Mr. Castile and his failure to comply with directions from Officer Yanez was what led to this,” Kelly said on behalf of Yanez.
Ramsey County Attorney Jeffrey Choi said Yanez will not be prosecuted unless it is found “beyond a reasonable doubt” that his shooting of Castile was not in self-defense.
“In order to bring criminal charges against a police officer for using deadly force in the line of duty, Minnesota law requires the State to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the use of force was not justified,” Choi wrote in a press statement.
3. The little girl in the viral Facebook live video is not his daughter.
Media sources had quickly assumed the 4-year-old shown in Reynolds’ live-stream video is Castile’s daughter. In an ABC interview today, Reynolds described Castile as her daughter’s “role model.” Reynolds frequently posted videos of herself with her daughter as she smoked weed.
Castile’s Facebook profile describes him as “single,” but videos suggest he and Reynolds were romantically involved.
4. Castile believed in hard work.
Castile’s cousin Antonio Johnson told the Star Tribune that he graduated from St. Paul Central High School with honors and straight-A’s. Johnson used adjectives such as “a real upstanding citizen,” “by the book,” and “very non-confrontational” to describe his cousin. His uncle, Clarence Castile, described him as a “good kid,” and his girlfriend described him as a “good man.”
“Philando Castile was an upstanding citizen, according to all the reports that we’ve heard,” Minnesota’s NAACP chapter told reporters.
5. Castile reportedly ranted against Jews on Facebook.
The following was recovered from his Facebook page by an online webpage before access to Castile’s posts up until 2011 became blocked from the public:
There is currently no public evidence, however, supporting justifications for Castile’s fatal shooting.
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