Philando Castile is yet another victim of supposed law and order in the United States. The 32-year-old was shot to death by a police officer at a traffic stop in Minnesota 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
The victim’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, said she and her 4-year-old daughter were in the car at the time of the incident. She live streamed the immediate aftermath of the shooting on Facebook, to show that countless of these so-called protectors of the public are but a disgrace to their uniform and for what the police force should uphold.
Reynolds reported that a police officer stopped them, claiming they had a broken tail light. The officer then asked for Castile’s license and registration, and he acted accordingly, reaching into his back pocket to retrieve them. He alerted the police officer that he had a firearm on him when the police officer fired four or five shots at him for no reason, all the while Reynolds was shouting that he did have his permit. Reynolds said after the shots were fired, and Castile was visibly dazed and vulnerable, the police officer continued to point his gun at him.
This incident is the second this week to be reported on police officers’ racially fueled trigger-happiness. On Tuesday, Alton Sterling was shot by police outside Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, also for no apparent good reason. According to USA Today, President Obama made a statement about both incidents where he said he felt “deeply troubled” and that communities should address the underlying issues that lead to such events and implement “ideas that can make a difference.”
As much as there may be truth in Obama’s words, it is an ugly truth that only seems to be known by the victims of such events more than the policy-makers and rights-protectors. What are governors and mayors doing about their states and cities to eliminate such hate crimes committed by the same people who are employed to serve and protect? What are members of Senate doing to contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement? What is Congress doing about a country that claims unity but one that only seems to be reserved for people with a particular skin color and social status?
This morning, I learned about the shooting of Philando Castile and asked myself, how many more?
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) July 7, 2016
Valery Castile, the victim’s mother, spoke against the numerous killings the law enforcement has been collecting and rightfully stated that African-Americans are being hunted. The mother who unjustly had her son taken from her without the chance to say goodbye called for leaders to be held accountable.
“A lot of our African-American men, women and children are being executed by the police, and there are no consequences. Every day you hear of another black person being shot down, gunned down by the people who are supposed to protect us,” she reported to CNN.
Castile worked at St. Paul Public School as a cafeteria supervisor and was said to be cheerful, a team player, have good relationships with both staff and students and considered one of their own. The institution released a statement of condolences to the victim’s family.
Shooting will be investigated
Governor Mark Dayton appeared in front of a crowd of protesters on Thursday morning, in an attempt to put their minds at ease promising change and justice after Philando Castile’s uncalled-for murder.
Dayton said he reached out to Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough Thursday morning requesting that the attorney general and the head of the civil rights division launch their own investigations. FBI Director James Comey also gave a statement saying he “expects” federal authorities to investigate the fatal police shooting in Minnesota.
It is a step in the right direction to see statements filled with sympathy and grief flown about, as well as to see authoritative figures determined to get to the bottom of these investigations. At the same time, these incidents are always under investigation with disappointing results, not only for victims’ loved ones and communities but for justice itself.
Alton Sterling Matters.
Philando Castile Matters.
Black Lives Matter. pic.twitter.com/GmUFN9sDH6
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 7, 2016
An example of this is the Freddie Gray incident that took place in April last year when police officers arrested him for possessing an illegal switchblade. A video shot by a bystander demonstrates the police dragging a limping Gray, who was then placed at the back of the police van with handcuffs and later leg restraints but not secured by a seatbelt as Department policy.
Gray suffered numerous spinal injuries, fell into a coma while still riding in the van and died. It was believed that his injuries were due to the violence he endured from the police officers, who denied the claims. The officers were suspended with pay and a year later tried but out of the three tried so far, none have been charged.
It does not suffice just to call for or “expect” an investigation that will not bring about justice in the end. US authorities of the criminal justice system need to re-evaluate their law enforcement and handle these cases with the seriousness, not the sympathy, they deserve. Sympathy will not bring back the victims of police brutality. Only actively addressing and transforming the issues within law enforcement can make a real difference.
Source: USA Today