A different kind of terrorism. This is how will.i.am reacted to the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and the most recent case, Philando Castile in Minnesota. The latter incident took place hours after the nation tallied its 558th person killed by police. Castile, 32, was fatally shot by police on Wednesday (July 6) during an apparent traffic stop in Falcon Heights. Where Sterling’s shooting was filmed on camera and spread throughout social media, the aftermath of Castile’s shooting was live streamed on Facebook Live by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was seated right beside him as he was covered in blood while a police officer pointed a gun at him. Reynold’s four-year-old daughter was in the car as well.
"You shot four bullets into him, sir," said Reynolds in the graphic video, which can be seen here. The video also lays out some of the details that led to the shooting, which as Reynolds noted, occurred after Castile was reaching for his wallet. The couple were reportedly pulled over for a broken tail light. "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 all while Castile moaned and appeared to slip out of consciousness as the seemingly frustrated officer seen pointing a gun shouted out expletives in the background.
Again, it is important to mention, this all occurred less than 48 hours after the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and over 72 hours after an off-duty officer opened fire with his service weapon on Delrawn Small in Brooklyn. Within each of these incidents, the families of said victims were present as witnesses to the bloodshed.
Castile was confirmed dead at a Minneapolis hospital after the bloody broadcast.
So many people work so hard to find a reason why executing a human being during a routine traffic stop is ok. IT'S NOT OK— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 7, 2016
"He don’t deserve this," said Reynolds in the video. "He’s a good man. He works for St. Paul Public Schools… He’s never been in jail, anything. He’s not a gang member, anything."
One day after the incident, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said today (July 7) that he requested a federal investigation into the Castile’s shooting death and spoke with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough for the Justice Department’s assistance. "Overnight, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension began an independent investigation at the state level," said Dayton in a prepared statement. "They are currently collecting all necessary evidence, and interviewing witnesses, to determine what happened, and to assure that justice in this case is served. I will do everything in my power to help protect the integrity of that investigation, to ensure a proper and just outcome for all involved."
The incident took place in Falcon Heights, Minn., which is a quiet St. Paul suburb that is located a few miles away from St. Anthony. In a brief news conference held Thursday morning, St. Anthony Police Department confirmed death of Castile, who was the driver of the vehicle, but refrained from identifying the officer involved in the shooting and his race. While the officer has been fired, police officials said he has been placed on paid administrative leave.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has since opened an investigation into the fatal shooting.
In a press release sent out Thursday morning, St. Anthony PD issued the following statement:
On 07-06-2016 at approximately 2100 hours, a St. Anthony Police Officer effected a traffic stop on Larpenteur and Fry in the City of Falcon Heights, Minnesota. During the stop, shots were fired. One adult male was taken to the hospital. We have been informed that this individual is deceased.
No one else was injured and the BCA has been called in to investigate this officer involved shooting. A handgun was recovered from the scene.
The BCA will provide additional information as their investigation progresses.
As the aftermath of the shooting continues to draw reactions, news has surfaced about the man named Philando Castile. Besides a father and a boyfriend, Castile was a beloved cafeteria supervisor at a J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul.
In addition, he and the words “good man” appear to be synonymous since that is appears to be how just about everyone from his community has described him. "They killed my son," said his mother, Valerie Castile, to the Star-Tribune. "They took a good man, a hard-working man — he worked since he was 18 years old."
Philando’s sister took to Facebook after the news, writing "They shot my brother !! Lord Jesus !!" Castile’s cousin, Antonio Johnson, 31, told the Star-Tribune in an interview that Philando was an honors student at St. Paul Central High School, "where he was a straight-A student," a "real upstanding citizen," "by the book" and "very non-confrontational."
In a statement put out by St. Paul Public Schools, one of the coworkers referred to Castile as "smart, over-qualified," and expressed how the students at J.J Hill adored him. "He wore a shirt and tie to his supervisor interview," the coworker said. "And said his goal was to one day ‘sit on the other side of this table.'"
Hours after his death, a crowd gathered near the scene where Castile was shot.
After being taken into police custody following the shooting, Reynolds appeared amidst a swarm of reporters as she reiterated the message left in her video sent to Facebook Live. "The police killed him in front of my daughter. We didn’t have to go through this. The police did this to us," she said while fighting back tears. "He showed his identification. He was licensed to carry and as he was reaching for his ID in his back pocket, the police [bore] arms."
Philando Castile would have turned 33 on Friday (July 8).