Less than 24 hours after Baton Rouge father Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police officers at point blank range while being pinned down during an arrest, those hired to "protect and serve" have unjustly claimed the life of yet another young Black man.
31-year-old Philando Castile was out with his girlfriend in Falcon Heights, Minnesota late Wednesday evening when the two were apparently pulled over for a routine traffic stop.
According to the woman, who was riding on the passenger side of the car and posted a live video stream of much of the incident on Facebook, the two were stopped for a broken tail light. After they pulled over, she says the officer approached the vehicle and asked Philando for his license and registration, at which time the woman says he informed the officer that he had a registered gun on him and was licensed to carry while reaching for his license and registration. She says the officer then instructed Philando to put his hands in the air and while attempting to do so, the officer shot him multiple times. The graphic video footage picks up just after Philando was shot, as he lay bleeding profusely in the driver's seat while the officer remains posted just outside of his window with the gun still pointed at him. A significant amount of time appears to go by as Philando continues to lose blood and other officers eventually arrive on the scene. The woman is then asked to get out of the car and restrained as another officer can be seen holding her young daughter as she cries for her mother. In a heartbreaking moment as the video nears its end, the young girl is later heard comforting her mother as the two sit in the back of the patrol car, where she says: "It's OK. I'm here with you." The child was also present for the shooting.
The disturbing video footage soon went viral, where it was met with an outpouring of frustration and outrage on social media as the world watched the immediate aftermath of a police officer fatally shooting a non-threatening young Black man at point blank range for the second night in a row.
Although additional details surrounding the shooting are still continuing to unfold, it has been confirmed that the officer who killed Philando Castile is a 5-year member of the St. Anthony Police Department. Philando was described by his uncle as an "upstanding man" who worked at the J.J. Hill school cafeteria in St. Paul and "cooked for little kids" for 12-15 years, according to USA Today.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is currently investigating the incident.
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