Philando Castile, another African-American, a 32-year-old school cafeteria manager, was killed during a traffic stop near St. Paul, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota where his distraught girlfriend broadcast his final moments in real time on Facebook.
As blood soaked through Castile’s shirt Wednesday night, his girlfriend, Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds, began broadcasting live video to her Facebook page, saying on camera that her boyfriend was legally licensed to carry a firearm and was reaching for his identification when the officer started to shoot.
“He killed my boyfriend,” Reynolds said in the video posted on her Facebook page. Castile died late Wednesday night in a Minneapolis hospital.
“He let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” she said in the Facebook video, which was ultimately viewed by millions.
On Thursday night, Minnesota state officials named Jeronimo Yanez as the officer who shot and killed Castile during the traffic stop. The state agency investigating the shooting said that Yanez and Officer Joseph Kauser, who have both been with the St. Anthony Police Department for four years, were on administrative leave.
According to the state agency, Yanez approached the driver’s side of the vehicle driven by Castile and during the interaction, “discharged his weapon, striking Castile multiple times,” the agency said in a statement. Officials also said a gun was recovered at the scene.
President Obama, speaking in Warsaw ahead of a NATO summit, called for greater urgency on police reform as he added his voice to the national outrage over fatal police shootings this week.
“What I can say is that all of us as Americans should be troubled by these shootings because these are not isolated incidents,” the president said. “They’re symptomatic of a broader set racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.”
Obama praised the Justice Department for opening a federal civil rights investigation into Sterling’s death and noted that Minnesota’s governor has called for a federal investigation in that case.
“When people say black lives matter, it does not mean blue lives don’t matter. All lives matter,” Obama said. “But the big concern is that the data shows that black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents. This isn’t a matter of us comparing the value of lives, this is recognizing that there is a particular burden is being placed on a group of our fellow citizens and we should care about that. We can’t dismiss it.”
Hundreds attended a Thursday-night vigil for Castile at the Montessori school where he had worked.