After Philando Castile was killed by a police officer, this 4-year-old feared her mom would be next
Last July, Philando Castile was pulled over by an officer for a “broken tail light.” His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, sat in the passenger seat beside him, her four-year-old daughter in the backseat.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez approaches the car, tells Castile his brake light is out, and Castile hands him his insurance card. He calmly tells Officer Yanez, “Sir, I have to tell you I do have a firearm on me.” Castile was licensed to carry a gun. When he attempted to reach for his ID, the officer yells at him to not reach for his gun. As Castile assures him he’s not, the officers pulls his gun and fires seven shots at Castile.
One narrowly misses Reynolds’ four-year-old daughter in the backseat.
The Facebook live video Reynolds streamed last year immediately went viral — another scene to add to the horrific number of shooting of black men by police this country has already amassed. This week, dashcam footage was finally revealed, after officer Yanez was acquitted of murder. And now, a piece of soul-shattering footage from the backseat of the squad car, where Reynolds is handcuffed and her 4-year-old desperately tries to prevent her from yelling so she doesn’t get “shooted” too.
“I can’t really do (unintelligible) because they got me handcuffed”
“It’s okay, mommy.”
“I can’t believe they just did this,” a distressed Reynolds says and begins to scream. She’s just witnessed her boyfriend killed, right in front of her eyes.
Her panicked four-year-old tries to calm her down, “It’s okay, I’m right her with you.”
Reynolds begins praying and crying, and at one point begins to scream.
“Mom, please stop cussing and screaming ’cause I don’t want you to get shooted,” the four-year-old begs.
“OK, give me a kiss. My phone just died, that’s all,” Reynolds attempts to console her daughter.
“I can keep you safe,” the girl says to her mother.
The officer had requested Castile’s identification. As he tried to give it to him, and presumably do the right thing by inform the officer that he was carrying the gun he was licensed to have, he was shot dead.
Seven seconds passed from the moment Castile informed the officer he had a gun, to the moment the officer fired seven shots into his chest. In those seven seconds, Reynolds and Castile desperately tried to tell the officer he was not reaching for his gun.
Seven seconds. And five minutes passed until another officer started chest compressions attempting to help Castile survive. He died of his wounds — in front of his girlfriend and daughter, and streaming on Facebook live. Reynolds began to tape after the officer fired seven shots into her boyfriend.
All because a man did exactly what he was supposed to do — calmly inform the police officer he was licensed to carry a firearm, and report that he had one on him.
The NRA has been disturbingly silent on this case though. And many in the public are quick to defend the officer’s actions. But we all know that if this was a suburban, white family — this never would have happened. But we’re not supposed to say that, right? We’re not supposed to “make everything about race.”
A man is dead, a woman is missing her partner, and a child is scarred for life — all because some people are so intrinsically afraid of black skin, they should not be allowed to carry weapons, themselves. And they certainly shouldn’t be tasked with “protecting” our communities.