It took less than 40 seconds for a mundane conversation about a broken taillight to turn deadly.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has released police dashcam footage of the fatal shooting of Philando Castile mere days after a jury acquitted Officer Jeronimo Yanez of all charges. Jurors viewed the video several times during Yanez's manslaughter trial but few people had ever seen the footage outside of the courtroom. The shooting made national headlines after Castille’s fiance, Diamond Reynolds, live-streamed the bloody aftermath on Facebook. According to Reynolds, Castille told the officer he had a firearm he was licensed to carry. The officer shot him as he reached into his pocket for his wallet and identification.
When Philando Castile was stopped by police on July 6 in a suburb outside St. Paul, Minnesota, the encounter quickly went from routine to violent. After informing the officers he had a permit to carry a gun and had one in his car, Castile was shot, an incident captured on video by his girlfriend as she sat in the passenger seat. The tragic event was the last of at least 49 traffic stops Castile had experienced in the past 13 years, for an average of about one stop every three months. Of all the stops, only six were for things a police officer could see from outside the car, things like speeding or having a broken taillight.
Philando Castile. (Credit: Source.)
On Wednesday, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott––the only black senator at the Republican conference and one of just two in the upper chamber––delivered a personal speech on the Senate floor addressing the “deep divide” between communities and law enforcement. In the course of one year as an elected official, Scott asserted, he has been pulled over by law enforcement no less than seven times. "Was I speeding sometimes? Sure,” he admitted. “But the vast majority of the time I was pulled over for driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or something else just as trivial." Scott’s address is the second of three in response to a lone gunman shooting and killing five officers in Dallas last week.