'I'm Outraged': Mother Of Philando Castile, Slain By Police,

The progress from Western colonial global expansion, and the construction of American wealth and industry on the backs of enslaved Blacks and Native peoples, followed by the abrupt "emancipation" of the slaves and their exodus from the South to the Northern cities, has led us to our current divided society. Divided by economic inequities and unequal access to social resources, the nation lives in a media dream of social harmony, or did until YouTube set its bed on fire. Now, it is common knowledge that our current system of brutal racist policing and punitive over-incarceration serves the dual purpose of maintaining racial prejudice and the inequities it justifies. Brief yourself on this late-breaking development in American history here.

'I'm Outraged': Mother Of Philando Castile, Slain By Police,

Postby admin » Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:03 pm

'I'm Outraged': Mother Of Philando Castile, Slain By Police, Speaks Out
by Bill Chappell
July 7, 2016

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About 200 people gathered outside the Minnesota Governor's Residence in St. Paul on Thursday, protesting the fatal shooting of a man by a police officer. Philando Castile was shot in a car Wednesday night in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights.
Jeff Baenen/AP


Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile — who was shot to death during a police traffic stop in suburban Minneapolis, Minn., Wednesday — says her son's death is part of a pattern of police killing black people, and that there need to be consequences.

In a lengthy interview with CNN this morning, Castile said that both her son and her daughter have concealed-carry gun permits — and that when she saw them at her house yesterday, the topic came up. Castile says that her daughter said she might stop carrying her gun, out of a fear that "they'll shoot me first and then ask questions later."

Philando Castile's final moments were captured in a streaming video that his girlfriend posted to Facebook during the police encounter — footage that sparked protests in Falcon Heights, Minn. In it, he's seen slumped to one side with a blood-stained shirt, as a police officer points a gun in the car.

Speaking about the footage, Philando's uncle, Clarence Castile, called the video "the most horrific thing I've ever seen in my life."

Today, Rep. Betty McCollum, who represents Falcon Heights and Minnesota's 4th District, called for the U.S. Justice Department to investigate Castile's death, citing the need to gain "a clear understanding of the facts surrounding this incident and ensure accountability appropriate to those facts."

"My deepest sympathies are with Mr. Castile's family, loved ones and friends," McCollum said. "I have watched the video of this incident circulating online. It is profoundly disturbing."

In her appearance on CNN, Valerie Castile said that killings of black people by police are now common, and that there is no accountability for police in such cases.

"It's becoming more and more repetitive," Castile said. "Every day you hear of another black person being shot down — gunned down — by the people who are supposed to protect us."

Discussing her son, she added that he was "trying to do the right things, and live accordingly by the law, he was killed by the law" — before stating flatly, "I'm outraged."

Valerie Castile also said that she hasn't spoken to her son's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds — who uses the name Lavish Reynolds online — despite having gone to the scene of yesterday's traffic stop after being alerted to the situation by a stream of phone calls. She says that she and her daughter rushed to the site.

The Triple S convenience store was the scene of a shooting shortly after midnight Tuesday — and the site of protests later that day, after video of a police-involved shooting circulated.

"The last time I saw her is when my daughter and I came up on the scene and she was in the back seat of the Falcon Heights police department's police car. And they wouldn't even let us get close enough to her to even talk with her."

She added that when she reached the scene, she immediately tried to learn where her son was.

"I didn't want to talk with anyone," Valerie Castile said. "I just wanted to know where my son was, because I didn't want my son to die alone."

She learned that her son was at the Hennepin County Medical Center — and by the time she got there, he was dead.

"They didn't let me see my son's body," she said, adding that she still hasn't identified him.

Valerie Castile said she hadn't watched the video that's now been seen millions of times in the U.S. and beyond.

"I want to remember him the way I last saw him, leaving my home earlier that evening," she said.
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Re: 'I'm Outraged': Mother Of Philando Castile, Slain By Pol

Postby admin » Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:06 pm

Philando Castile Is Remembered By St. Paul Public Schools: 'Kids Loved Him'
by Bill Chappell
July 7, 2016

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A sign is hung outside the Minnesota Governor's Residence as about 200 people gathered in St. Paul on Thursday, protesting the fatal shooting of Philando Castile by a suburban police officer.
Jeff Baenen/AP


The man who was shot and killed by police last night in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., had spent more than a decade working for the same school district from which he graduated from high school. Philando Castile as well-liked by students and staff, according to St. Paul Public Schools.

The school district issued a statement today, drawing on coworkers' comments about Castile — including one person who said, "Kids loved him. He was smart, over-qualified."

Depicting a man who was working his way up the ranks, the statement calls Castile's death "tragic." The remarks show another side of the person who was seen in a video that was streamed onto Facebook by Castile's girlfriend immediately after a police officer shot him Wednesday.

Minnesota's governor says that state investigators are looking into the case; he's also calling for the Justice Department to investigate.

Here's the school district's full statement:

"Saint Paul Public Schools and its staff grieve the tragic death of a former student and current employee, Philando Castile.

"He graduated from Central High School in 2001 and had worked for Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) since he was 19 years old, beginning in 2002, in the Nutrition Services Department.

"Mr. Castile was promoted to a supervisory position two years ago and was currently working in one of our schools during the summer term.

"Colleagues describe him as a team player who maintained great relationships with staff and students alike. He had a cheerful disposition and his colleagues enjoyed working with him. He was quick to greet former coworkers with a smile and hug.

"One coworker said, 'Kids loved him. He was smart, over-qualified. He was quiet, respectful, and kind. I knew him as warm and funny; he called me his 'wing man.' He wore a shirt and tie to his supervisor interview and said his goal was to one day 'sit on the other side of this table.'

"Those who worked with him daily said he will be greatly missed.

"'I am deeply sorry for his family and for their loss. He's worked in SPPS for many years and he graduated from our district, so he was one of our own,' said SPPS Superintendent Valeria Silva.

"Grief counselors will be available for staff and students as needed or requested.

"The Saint Paul Public Schools family extends its deepest sympathy to Mr. Castile's family and loved ones."
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Re: 'I'm Outraged': Mother Of Philando Castile, Slain By Pol

Postby admin » Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:17 pm

What Will Make the Killings Stop?: Two recent officer-involved shootings call into question the broad authority police are granted to use lethal force.
by Vann R. Newkirk II
July 7, 2016

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A band marches down a Baton Rouge street in a "second line" vigil for Alton Sterling, who was killed by police officers TuesdayGerald Herbert / AP

I began writing this on Wednesday morning. Just hours before, late on Tuesday night another black person passed from life to death to the strange immortalization of a Twitter hashtag. Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man was shot and killed by police officers while selling CDs in front of a store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was alleged to be armed. A widely-circulated video of the incident, which appears to show an officer aiming a pistol at Sterling and firing while Sterling was prone and restrained by another officer, kicked off protests in the streets of Baton Rouge.

A day later, I was still writing. Late on Wednesday night another black person passed from life to the immortalization of a hashtag. Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man, was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. He was alleged to be armed. A widely-circulated video of the incident, in which Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds reacted after Castile had been shot—the officer still training his gun on him—kicked off protests in the streets of the Twin Cities.

The next shooting may not come tonight or tomorrow. By the math, though, every two days a black person of some age—14 or 18 or 43 or 37—armed or unarmed, sober or under the influence, resisting arrest or providing officers with identification will be shot and killed by an officer or officers. Video of the incident will likely be circulated. Protests will likely follow. But any sort of end to this violence remains truly unlikely.

According to The Guardian’s “The Counted” project, Sterling was the 560th person killed by police this year. Castile was the 561st. Despite a year of mass protests, despite the proliferation of videos of police violence and brutality, and despite a shifting national mood that acknowledges police brutality as both racially unjust and part of a broad pattern of behavior, the number of people killed by police is roughly on pace to be similar to last year’s number of people killed by police. Vigilance, complaints, scrutiny, and even rare prosecutions have done little to curb routine violence.

There is a sense of normalcy to what should be absolutely extraordinary. In Baton Rouge, swelling crowds prompted an immediate press conference from District Attorney Hillar Moore to announce that the Department of Justice would be investigating Sterling’s death right away. Just a year ago that might have seemed an entirely unlikely victory for those who pushed for scrutiny in officer-involved shootings. Now, it is unclear if even these extraordinary proceedings will result in justice or an end to the onslaught.

Moore’s press conference also suggested why policing is so difficult to change:

Well again, you know, it’s another person that’s dead, killed by law enforcement officers who have the authority by the state and the people— because we get our power, really, from the people, not just a piece of paper—that authorizes law enforcement to take a life in certain situations. Which is always—that’s why you guys are here in this situation and not on the streets of Baton Rouge where we have other killings, because this is potentially a state-authorized killing. [The law] gives law-enforcement officers the authority and mandates them to kill when in defense of themselves or others. So I think whenever there’s that situation and law enforcement officers [are] involved, it’s a completely different case than a person in the streets being killed.


As my colleague Brentin Mock notes, Moore’s comments seem unusually blunt. Police officers are in the business of state-authorized killing, to defend their own lives or those of others. And when they exercise that authority, Moore implies, their actions deserve greater scrutiny than other homicides.

The right to kill in self-defense is in keeping with the generally expansive and bloody American doctrine of self-defense. But officers are not ordinary Americans. They likely carry with them the same sense of intimidation and mistrust of people of color that many people across the country carry, but are simultaneously trained to aggressively interact with them on a daily basis. That fear and hypervigilance may be supplemented by what appears to be common racism. Officers are also allowed a far more generous interpretation of self-defense in disciplinary and court proceedings. In practice, simply claiming that they feared for their lives often proves sufficient grounds to secure acquittal. In essence, police officers are given lethal weapons, taught and authorized to use them rather liberally, and then deployed in a manner as to create situations to use those weapons.

The number of people killed by police is roughly on pace to be similar to last year’s number of people killed by police.


At some point, a system constructed in such a way that killings are inevitable asymptotically approaches a system in which killings are deliberate so as to make the difference difficult to discern. Moore’s comments encapsulate what I tried to express in an analysis last week about the failings of criminal justice around the Freddie Gray case and the need for a new way to assess police violence. Some have defended those trials and others like them as exercises in justice working the way it should: Defendants are offered the fullest and most charitable version of due process, supported by strong legal teams, and prosecutors who cannot meet the evidentiary burden to convict them are left with nothing.

But that defense is orthogonal to the actual issues at hand and the implications of Moore’s statement. The expansive authority of police to kill forestalls accountability for all but the best-documented and most-egregious acts of violence by police officers and reduces the ability of the criminal-justice system to meet its burden of safeguarding citizens. Because police officers are agents of criminal justice, they benefit from a presumption that their acts are just. But if widespread police killings are in fact an injustice, then there is a pressing need to look beyond individual trials for some systemic remedy.

There is little public will to do so, however. As Moore put it, the agents of the criminal-justice system “get our power, really, from the people, not just a piece of paper.” Those comments laid bare exactly why incidents of police brutality—even killings—seem like routine elements of American life. It’s because they are. They are not aberrations, but the predictable and inevitable consequence of common encounters enabled by policy and sustained by the will of society. If there actually is any resolve to keep history from repeating itself and to end the parade of death, Americans will have to challenge the state’s authorization of violence beyond individual police acts, and investigate the purposes of policing that drive its use. Until then, people will continue to die.

This article is part of our Next America: Criminal Justice project, which is supported by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
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