Police Shooting Victim Philando Castile Was 'a Very Good Person ... Just Black in the Wrong Place'
Of all the things Philando Castile was – respectful, hard-working, easy-going and kind – there were several things he was not, according to his mother.
"He’s no thug. He doesn’t run the street. He didn’t go to bars," said his distraught and angry mother, Valerie Castile.
“Everyone likes my son.”
And Philando was taught as a young boy to always be respectful of police, especially if they questioned him, she said.
"I always told them, whatever you do, when you get stopped by the police, comply, comply, comply," she said Thursday on CNN.
And that’s just what he was doing when police pulled him and his girlfriend over Wednesday evening in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, according to Diamond Reynolds, who livestreamed the couple’s encounter on Facebook.
The footage begins moments after Castille has been shot multiple times by an unseen officer whose gun is pointed at Castile, who is slumped toward Reynolds, his t-shirt covered in blood.
"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," Reynolds says, with an astonishing amount of calmness. "Please, officer, don't tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir."
Castile, who had a concealed weapon permit, had told the officer he had a firearm, Reynolds says in the video. When he reached for his wallet to get his ID, shots rang out, according to his girlfriend.
The man later died at Hennepin County Medical Center. Reynold’s 4-year-old daughter had been in the backseat when police opened fire.
Reaction to the stunning video was fast and furious. The internet was loaded with sympathy for the victim and outrage at the shooting of another African-American at the hands of a law enforcement officer.
Castile’s mother and uncle talked at length Thursday morning on the cable channel, describing Philando and decrying the treatment of blacks by police.
"We hear about things like this happening all the time around the United States and the world, people being harmed and abused by people that we're supposed to trust with our lives, people that are supposed to serve and protect us,” said Clarence Castile.
“And they tend to be our executioners and judges and murderers," added Philando’s uncle.
The young man had worked as a cafeteria supervisor for St. Paul Public Schools.
The school district issued a statement Thursday praising Castile as "a team player who maintained great relationships with staff and students alike. He had a cheerful disposition and his colleagues enjoyed working with him."
His mother said Philando started working at age 15 and had held a steady job all of his adult life. He liked to play video games after he got home from work, she said.
Asked why she thought her son was killed, Castile replied, “I think he was just black in the wrong place.”
The victim’s uncle and mother had the same one-word answer when asked what they wanted to happen next.
“Justice,” they replied.