Philando Castile

Philando Castile
Philando Castile®️ Courtesy of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation

Philando Castile was 32 years old when he was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, by a St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer on July 6, 2016. The cause for the traffic stop was undeniably due to racial profiling. At trial, radio calls showed that the officer said he was going to stop a car because two occupants look like armed robbery suspects. He said, "Driver looks more like one of our suspects just cause of the wide-set nose.” In the car with Philando was his partner Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter.

As Philando was reaching for his driver's license, he notified the officer immediately that he had a legally licensed firearm in the car. The officer told him not to reach for it or pull it out. Philando calmly replied that he was neither reaching for it nor pulling it out. Diamond also confirmed for the officer that Philando was not reaching for it. The officer then shot at Philando, seven times at close range. Five of the bullets struck and killed him.

Diamond livestreamed the shooting to Facebook. The police officer was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. After five days of deliberations held at the Ramsey County District Court, he was acquitted of all charges in a jury trial on June 16, 2017. The officer was fired by the City of Saint Anthony. Diamond Reynolds and Philando Castile’s family brought wrongful death lawsuits against the city that were settled for $3.8 million.

The NRA, known for its fierce defense of legal gun-owners’ rights, remained deafeningly silent on this case.