After the Orlando Shooting, there were so many NRA members or sympathizers, who attempted to argue that if people in the club were able to bring weapons inside, the shooting wouldn’t have been as deadly as it was. Someone could have stopped the gunman. When folks asked for gun control, people trotted out their allegiance to the Second Amendment.
But that second amendment, the right to bear arms doesn’t apply if you’re Black.
Philando Castile, who was shot and killed in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, had the right to bear arms. He was licensed to carry. When an officer pulled Philando, his girlfriend and a four-year-old girl over for a busted taillight, Castile told the officer that he had a firearm on him and then reached for his wallet. The police officer fired off 4-5 rounds into Castile’s body.
He was pronounced dead later, at the hospital.
Moments after Castile was shot, his girlfriend Lavish Reynolds (Diamond Reynolds), started recording.
“Stay with me.” Are the first words she says on the video before she described what happened during the traffic stop.
The camera turns to reveal Castile’s bloodied body and the officer outside of the car window, still aiming the gun at Castile as he takes his last breaths.
The officer can be heard saying “F*ck!” over and over again and telling Reynolds that he told Castile not to reach for anything. She reminds him that he’d instructed Castile to produce his I.D.
The most heartbreaking moment for me came when Reynolds, who appeared calm throughout most of the video, lost it after she was handcuffed and placed in the backseat of a police car with her 4-year-old daughter. She screams out and her daughter, trying to comfort her says, “It’s OK, I’m right here with you.”
Castile’s family, his mother and uncle, Valerie and Clarence Castile, spoke to CNN recently and said they are devastated.
Clarence Castile said of the man who took Castile’s life, “He’s not an officer. He’s just a man. An officer is supposed to protect and serve. That was a man who did that. That man is a destroyer and he came into our lives and done something and took something from us.”
Castile said that his nephew Philando worked as a kitchen supervisor for the St. Paul School District.
His mother Valerie said that her son was simply “Black in the wrong place.”
“Everybody that knows my son knows that he is a laid back, quiet individual that works hard every day, pays taxes and comes home and plays video games. That’s it,” she said. “He’s not a gang banger. He’s not a thug. He’s very respectable. And I know he didn’t antagonize that officer in any way to make him feel like his life was threatened.”
She’s said that she’s always told her son that if he could ever encounter the police he should “comply, comply, comply.” Later she asked, “What’s the difference in complying if you get killed anyway?”
You can watch Reynolds’ full video below. Please choose to do so cautiously, though. It is very graphic, extremely disturbing and soul crushing. If your spirit can’t take it today, don’t feel obligated to watch.