July 2: Philando Castile

Philando Castile
(July 16, 1983 – July 6, 2016)

About Him: Philando Divall Castile was born in Saint Lousi, Missouri. He worked for the Saint Paul Public School District as a supervisor in nutrition services and memorized the names and the food allergies of nearly 500 children in the school. He served as a role model for hundreds of children often teaching them important lessons about the consequences of stealing and being respectful.

A coworker said: “Kids loved him. He was quiet, respectful and kind. I knew him as warm and funny.”  

Philando Castile was also a member of a teamsters union that represented public and law enforcement personelle.

On the day of his shooting: On July 6, 2016, Castile and his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds and her 4 yr old daughter, were returning from grocery shopping.  They were pulled over as part of a traffic stop by Officers Jeronimo Yanez and Joseph Kauser in a suburb of St. Paul. When Castile asked why he was being stopped, he was told it was for a broken tail light. Getting pulled over was nothing new, Castile had been pulled over 52 times in the past 13 yrs for minor offenses. (speeding, driving without a muffler and not wearing a seat belt.) He was assessed at least $6,588 in fines and fees, although more than half of the 86 violations were dismissed.

Of the 52 times, Philando Castile managed to make it through them without incident.

Officer Yanez asked for ID and registration, Castile provided the registration first then informed the officer that he had a concealed weapon license and a gun on him.

The officer told him not to reach for it, Castile replied that he wasn’t. The officer repeated his command, and within 40 seconds of the initial stop, Yanez had shoved his gun into the window and fired 7 shots. Five of the nearly point blank shots struck Castile with two hitting him in the heart.

Ms Reynolds began live streaming to Facebook on her phone at the time. In the video recordings, she can be heard saying that Castile was reaching for his ID, not for a gun.

According to officer Yanez: Castile and the passenger allegedly resembled suspects involved in an earlier robbery. Yanez claimed that Castile was not complying to his orders and had a gun in his hand. Yanez also claimed that there was the smell of marijuana in the car and that he feared for his life. That because of the odor, he didn’t know whether Castile had the gun “for protection” from a drug dealer or people trying to rob him.

Official transcript right after the shooting: “I know he had an object and it was dark. And he was pulling it out with his right hand. And as he was pulling it out I, a million things started going through my head. And I thought I was gonna die. And, I was scared because, I didn’t know if he was gonna, I didn’t know what he was gonna do. He just had somethin’ uh his hands and he, the first words that he said to me were, some of the first words he said is that he had a gun.

However in his court testimony almost a year later, Yanez testified that: “I was able to see the firearm in Mr. Castile’s hand, and that’s when I engaged him.”

The gun was found to be in Castile’s pocket when paramedics were preparing to load Castile into an ambulance.

The Outcome:
After 27 hours of deliberation, the jury found Yanez not guilty of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm endangering Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter

The aftermath:
Civil unrest and protests
The family reached a 3 million dollar settlement with the city.
Diamond Reynolds reached an 800,000 dollar settlement as well.A Philando Castile Memorial Scholarship was established at St. Paul Central High School. 
Because Castile frequently paid for lunches for students who owed money or could not afford to pay The Philando Castile Relief Foundation was created. It also provides helps families affected by gun violence.

You can donate to this cause here:

What happened to Officer Yanez?
 He reached a reasonable voluntary separation agreement with the department and will receive $48,500. The City concluded it was the best way to move forward and help the community heal.  


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