I’m going to derail a bit from my usual humorous moniker and get on the subject of the recent not guilty verdict on Philando Castile’s cold blooded murder by Officer Jeronimo Yanez.
For you guys that aren’t caught up, here is the brief synopsis of the incident:
On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was fatally shot by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer, after being pulled over in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul. Castile was driving a car with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter as passengers when he was pulled over by Yanez and another officer. According to Reynolds, after being asked for his license and registration, Castile told the officer he was licensed to carry a weapon and had one in his pants pocket.
Reynolds said Castile was shot while reaching for his ID after telling Yanez he had a gun permit and was armed. The officer shot at Castile seven times.
Diamond Reynolds live-streamed a video on Facebook in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. It shows her interacting with the armed officer as a mortally injured Castile lies slumped over, moaning slightly and his left arm and side bloody. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office ruled Castile’s death a homicide and said he had sustained multiple gunshot wounds. The office reported that Castile died at 9:37 p.m. CDT in the emergency room of the Hennepin County Medical Center, about 20 minutes after being shot
In short, Philando was riding with his girlfriend and her daughter and was pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The officer instructs for him to show his ID (which he does) and also asks if he had any weapons. Philando did admit to havinig a gun in the car that he has a concealed carry permit for. At no time did he make any movements or actions that lead the officer to think he could be a threat.
The officer then continued to insinuate that he could use it, which Philander told him that he would not, and then was shot at seven times.
SEVEN. TIMES. Philander later died at the hospital. His girlfriend was detained and later released.
Granted all of this was also recorded on Facebook live at the time, so irrefutably, you would think this would stand up well in court as proper evidence to convict the officer, but this was not the case.
A jury found Yanez not guilty on July 16th, 2017 and once again, police accountability is slim to none. A mother, family and girlfriend lose their loved one as the state rules in the favor of officer Yanez.
( Source: Washington Post)
And as Philando’s mother speaks after the verdict [see above], you can hear the distinct frustration with the system that she thought would protect her child. Unlike other instances where the grievers were more solemn about their loss, her words were more so that of disappointment, frustration and how much her son loved the state of Minnesota.
After the verdict, protests later broke out in St. Paul, MN, with civilians blocking major highway traffic and marching in the street. A few civilians were arrested, including some journalists for refusing to comply to police orders to cease actions.
I know we all hate this conversation, but its important to have it. Lets ask ourselves: What will it take to reduce the number of civilian casualties due to police violence and neglect?
Appropriation politics has been drilled in our heads of less affected demographics so often as a method of not being harmed in the sight of police presence and altercation. Such as the popular saying:
“Don’t break the law and you have nothing to worry about.”
In cases such as Philando Castile’s murder, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, ect, it is usually embedded in our heads that in order for others to avoid more incidents with police, they should just comply with their demands, be respectful, and non-resistant. This was evident in Philando Castile’s demise as well, yet very little is being spoken from a “Blue Lives” perspective in how systemically we can train, re-educate, and provide higher policing standards to lessen such incidents.
What are your thoughts ? Let us know in the comments.