Lavish Reynolds never imagined her Wednesday evening would end with the shooting death of her boyfriend Philando Castile, 32.
But what happened to Castile in a Minnesota suburb right outside of St. Paul, just 48 hours after the shooting death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is becoming all too familiar in Black communities across America.
Reynolds used Facebook Live to stream the aftermath of the shooting, The Washington Post reports. Reynolds, Castile and Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter were riding in the car together when they were pulled over in Falcon Heights.
The video opens with a gruesome scene — Reynolds can be seen first saying, “Stay with me,” to Castile, while she explains the couple was pulled over for a busted tail light. The camera then pans to Castile who is panting while fighting for his life. You can see his blood-soaked, white T-shirt as he struggles.
Reynolds says Castile was shot by the officer after he reached for his identification. She says he was carrying a licensed firearm, but maintains he was not reaching for his weapon at the time he was shot in the arm.
You can see and hear the officer yelling expletives and saying, “I told him not to reach for it, I told him to get his hand out!” He remains on the side of the car, while he points his gun at Castile through the window. The officer also tells Reynolds to keep her hands where there are.
Reynolds remains calm, while she continuously prays: “Oh my god, please don’t tell me he is dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that,” she pleads.
Reynolds is asked to exit the car by another responding officer and is handcuffed. The video remains fixated on the sky, but you can hear Castile is escorted to the back of a police car. Her daughter runs to pick up the phone and returns it to her.
In the back of the police car, Reynolds screams out in frustration as reality sets in. “It’s ok, I’m right here with you,” her daughter says from the backseat. The video ends with Reynolds asking social media for their prayers.
Castile’s family says he was a good young man, who worked as a cafeteria supervisor for J. J. Hill Montessori Magnet School for over 10 years.
Clarence Castile, Philando’s uncle, told The Minneapolis Star Tribune the victim’s mother broke down once she heard the news of her son’s passing.
Allysza Castile, Philando’s 23-year old sister, fought through tears as she told The Post, “He’s gone.” She also said her family was initially not allowed to see his body when they arrived at the hospital.
As the day turned to evening, protesters gathered in front of Gov. Mark Dayton’s home in Minnesota, demanding answers and chanting, “No justice, no sleep!”
According to Reuters, the governor was evacuated from his home due to the swelling crowd.
During an early morning press conference on Thursday, Sgt. Jon Mangseth, St. Paul’s interim police chief, seemed stunned that something like this could happen in the immediate vicinity.
“We haven’t had an officer-involved shooting in 30 years or more,” he said. “I’d have to go back in the history books, to tell you the truth. It’s shocking. It’s not something that occurs in this area often.”
Sgt. Mangseth announced the shooting was under an internal investigation and the officer, who has not been identified, was placed on “standard paid administrative leave.”
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