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Minnesota Police Shoot And Kill A Black Man During Routine Traffic Stop

By aaroncynic in News on Jul 7, 2016 1:59PM

Police officers in Falcoln Heights, Minnesota—a small town of little more than 5,000 people outside of St. Paul—shot and killed an African-American man Wednesday night as he was attempting to comply with orders during a routine traffic stop.

The victim, 32 year-old Philando Castile, had identified himself as a legal and registered gun owner and was reaching for his wallet to show identification when police opened fire, shooting him at least four or five times. A video of the aftermath of his death at the hands of police was captured and posted live to Facebook by his girlfriend, who was riding in the passenger seat while her 7-year old daughter was in the back seat.

Warning—graphic content:

"Stay with me,” says Castile’s girlfriend, who identifies online as Lavish Reynolds, as the video opens and she pans the camera towards him. As she speaks, Castile can be seen slumped in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, covered in blood. “We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back. And the police just...he’s covered...they killed my boyfriend. He was trying to get his id out of his wallet in his pocket.”

“They just shot his arm off,” she adds as the footage shows an officer shouting and pointing a handgun through the window at Castile.

Shortly after, Reynolds is ordered out of the vehicle and onto her knees. "Please, Lord," she says, "Don't let him be gone."

Castile was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center and died shortly after arriving, around 9:37 p.m., according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“They killed my son,” Valerie Castile told reporters, shortly after midnight. “They took a good man, a hard-working man; he worked since he was 18 years old.”

Philando Castile’s death at the hands of police comes less than 48 hours after another person of color was killed by officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On Tuesday, video emerged showing what amounts to the extra judicial execution of Alton Sterling, a 37 year-old black man who sold CDs in the parking lot of a convenience store. Sterling and Castile's deaths have sparked protests, and calls on social media for people to support the ethos of the Black Lives Matter movement and acknowledge the injustices of their deaths.

According to Killed by Police, a database that tracks the deaths of individuals at the hands of law enforcement, Castile is the 600th American killed by police in just the first half of 2016.

Castile’s cousin Antonio Johnson told reporters Philando was “a black individual driving in Falcon Heights who was immediately criminally profiled and he lost his life over it tonight.”