Fearing For Her Life, Philando Castile’s Girlfriend Livestreamed Fatal Police Shooting
Stephen Maturen

Diamond Reynolds feared she might be the next victim of a police shooting on July 6, 2016.

That’s why she began live streaming on Facebook while her boyfriend, Philando Castile, sat dying after a Minnesota police officer shot him during a routine traffic stop. Reynolds, whose video sparked outrage and prompted protests nationwide, testified about her frightening experience Tuesday during the trial against Officer Jeronimo Yanez.

Yanez, who was charged with manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm, fired into the vehicle after pulling Castile and Reynolds over for a broken taillight. Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter, who can be heard attempting to console her mother during the ordeal, was in the backseat when Yanez fired, unprovoked, into the car.

“Because I know that the people are not protected against the police,” Reynolds said of her decision to Facebook Live the incident. “I wanted to make sure if I died in front of my daughter that people would know the truth.”

While both dashcam video from officer’s vehicles and the live steam elicited tears from some jurors, the defense questioned Reynolds in cross-examination about the couple’s marijuana use and Castile’s final movements before he was shot, CBS News reports. Reynolds testified that Castile was reaching for his wallet when he was shot by Yanez, though the defense maintains she claimed he was unbuckling his seatbelt. The defense argued that Castile was high during the encounter, which may have affected his actions.

Both sides also presented the argument about Castile’s gun and whether Yanez ever saw the firearm. Castile had a permit to carry the gun. 

Yanez’s partner, Joseph Kauser, also took the stand, admitting that the officer believed Castile resembled a robbery suspect. Days after the elementary school cafeteria worker was killed, disturbing audio recording of a police scanner revealed that he may have been stopped for that very reason. “The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide-set nose,” the officer on the recording can be heard saying.

As the trial continues, the defense is expected to argue that the officer acted reasonably in the encounter. But for Reynolds, who live with the daily pain of watching her loved one die, that argument can be contested.

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