The girlfriend of Philando Castile, a black motorist shot dead by Minnesota police, made an emotional call for justice on Thursday for a law-abiding young man she said was killed “for no reason”, reports BSS
Diamond Reynolds, who was in the passenger seat with her four-year-old daughter riding in back as Castile bled to death, captured the shooting aftermath Wednesday night in a now-viral video.
Speaking to reporters outside the governor’s mansion in St. Paul after a night in custody, Reynolds repeated what she asserted in the shock footage: the 32-year-old school cafeteria supervisor did nothing to provoke the shooting.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has called for an investigation into Philando Castile’s killing
Reynolds said she, her daughter and Castile were returning from grocery shopping when they were stopped in a suburb of St Paul. Castile had recently had a haircut for his birthday.
Pulled over purportedly for a broken tail light, Castile duly informed the officer that he was in possession of a licensed gun, Reynolds said — and was shot as he reached for his wallet. Castile had made no threat, she said.
“Nothing within his body language said intimidation. Nothing within his body said ‘Shoot me.’ Nothing within his language said ‘Kill me I want to be dead,” she said, her voice trembling with grief and anger.
Reynolds said she decided to livestream the event — even as an officer pointed his gun through the car window — to forestall any attempt by police to deny what happened.
“I didn’t do it for pity. I didn’t do it for fame. I did so that the world knows that these police are not here to protect us,” she said.
“They’re here to assassinate us, they’re here to kill us because we are black.”
Reynolds said the officer, whom she described as an Asian male, made conflicting demands of Castile — both that he keep his hands in the air and that he identify himself.
“As he’s reaching for his back-pocket wallet, he lets the officer know, ‘Officer, I have a firearm on me.’ I begin to yell, ‘But he’s licensed to carry.'”
“After that, he begins to take off shots. ‘Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Don’t move! Don’t move!'”
“Not one shot. Not two shots. Not three shots. Not four shots. But five shots,” she said.
“How can you not move when you’re asking for license and registration? It’s either you want my hands in the air or you want my information,” she said.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has called for the US Justice Department to investigate Castile’s killing, saying he was “shocked” and offering his condolences to the grieving family.
It was the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days, after the death of Alton Sterling who was killed after being pinned to the ground outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.