Do Shooting Lies Matter?
The investigation into the Falcon Heights, MN officer-involved shooting of Philando Castile has taken a sharp turn from the story we first heard in the video his girlfriend shot immediately following the incident.
Of her video, Reynolds said, “I wanted everyone in the world to know that no matter how much the police tamper with evidence, how much they stick together … I wanted to put it on Facebook and go viral so that the people could see. I wanted the people to determine who is right and who is wrong. The only thing you guys didn’t see was when he shot. If I would have moved while that gun was out, he would have shot me, too. I chose to allow the video to go live 10 seconds before my phone died because I wanted everyone in the world to see what the police do and how they roll.”
But as they say, there are three sides to every story. And the truth always finds a way to reveal itself.
When Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, began filming inside the car after he was shot by a police officer, she stated the vehicle had been pulled over for a ‘broken tail light’.
However, witnesses on the scene began posting pictures of Castile’s vehicle with both tail lights operable:
On scene in falcon heights. Police killed another black man. Car pulled over for taillight. Both taillight on tho pic.twitter.com/DpOM6q4taR
— Ͳҽąçհҽɾʂ մղìօղʂ ҟìӀӀ օմɾ çհìӀժɾҽղ’ʂ հօքҽʂ + ժɾҽąʍʂ (@RashadsRepublic) July 7, 2016
There were also allegations that the police left Castile to die in his vehicle after shooting him ‘for no reason’, but amateur video taken on the scene shows officers performing CPR on him in an effort to save his life.
But the most damning evidence against Reynolds assertion Castile was shot ‘for a busted tail light’ is the police scanner audio just released by KARE 11.
According to the scanner recording, when officers saw Castile drive by, they identified that he fit the profile of a suspect in an armed robbery in the area just days before.
St. Anthony Police Department issued a press release regarding an armed robbery at the Super USA store in the 2400 block of Larpenteur Avenue around 7:30 p.m. on July 2nd. The suspects, two armed black men, made off with cash from the register and cartons of Newport cigarettes. (which happens to be the brand of cigarettes in Reynolds’ hand as she addressed reporters on July 7, the same picture featured at the top of this article)
One suspect was described as a black man with shoulder-length dreadlocks, who wore tan pants, tan shoes with white soles, a green jacket, a green baseball cap and glasses, the release says. He also had some of his hair pulled into a bun through the strap on the back of his hat and had a small mustache and facial hair on his chin, according to the press release.
The scanner recording identifies the reason Castile was pulled over that day:
“The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery. The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide set nose,” the officer on the recording confirms.
Approximately a minute and a half later, comes the first report that there was a shooting.
Officer: “Shots fired Larpenteur and Fry.”
Dispatch: “Copy you just heard it? … You just heard the shots fired?”
Officer: (screaming) “Code 3! Shots fired.”
Dispatch: “Copy shots fired Larpenteur and Fry. Do you need medics?”
Officer: “Code 3!”
Dispatch: “Copy. Medics — code 3 to Larpenteur and Fry.”
Officer: “One adult female taken into custody. Driver at gunpoint.”
An attorney for the police officer who shot and killed Castile made a statement on behalf of his client today, saying, “The shooting had nothing to do with race and everything to do with the presence of that gun,” and noting that the officer himself is Latino.
Furthermore, Attorney Thomas Kelly stated that Castile “was not following the directions of the police officer,”, but he declined to provide further detail.
“He’s very distressed about this incident, and he feels badly for the family of Philando Castile,” Kelly said. “It’s a tragic incident.”
The next issue is that of Castile’s concealed carry permit.
On her video, Reynolds states:
“I got … the Roseville Police got me handcuffed, my phone is about to die. I’m on Larpenteur and Fry and the Roseville Police Department just shot my boyfriend. They shot him four times. He has a license to carry. We had a busted tail light. And we had some weed in the car that’s about it.”
First of all; I don’t know why the NRA would issue a statement on Sterling (a convicted felon illegally in possession of a handgun who was resisting arrest and was shot after police gave him several opportunities to comply), but secondly, authorities had yet to confirm whether or not Castile did indeed possess a valid concealed carry permit.
When asked to confirm Castile was in fact licensed to carry, officials with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office told CNN such data is private under state law.
“Under Minnesota law, information about an individual’s ‘permit to carry’ status is not public,” Bruce Gordon, communications director for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said in an email.
However, the county people first believed to have issued Castile’s concealed carry permit did confirm their office did not issue his CCP:
Mr. Castile never applied for a permit to carry with our office. Therefore we did not issue his permit.
— Ramsey Sheriff (MN) (@RamseySheriff) July 7, 2016
And much to gun-grabbers chagrin, the NRA did issue a statement on Philando Castile, stating the reports ‘must be thoroughly investigated’ and that they would ‘have more to say once all the facts are known’.
— NRA (@NRA) July 8, 2016
Given all the information that has already come out regarding this case, it seems they were absolutely right to withhold their statement until all the facts are uncovered in the investigation.
Just one more thing. The police officer is heard on the video screaming, “I told him not to reach for it, I told him to get his hand off it!!”. A still frame taken from the video shows a long metallic black object on Castile’s left leg just under his arm. Reynolds claims Castile was ‘reaching for his wallet’ in his back pocket, so it is plausible that the object in Castile’s lap is a gun – which would explain why the officer drew his weapon and shot.
Obviously there is more information surrounding this story yet to come, including the dash cam video as well as the family’s release of Castile’s concealed carry permit once his belongings are released. We will continue to follow the story as it develops.