A Minnesota officer fatally shot a man in a car with a woman and a child, an official said, and authorities are looking into whether the aftermath was livestreamed in a widely shared Facebook video, which shows a woman in a vehicle with a man whose shirt appears to be soaked in blood telling the camera that “police just shot my boyfriend for no apparent reason.”
St. Anthony Police interim police chief Jon Mangseth said the incident began when an officer from his agency initiated a traffic stop around 9 p.m. Wednesday in Falcon Heights, a St. Paul suburb.
At some point, an officer fired, striking the man, he said. Mangseth said he didn’t know what the reason for the traffic stop was, and police did not say what led to the shooting. The officer in question is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
Authorities did not immediately release the man’s name, but family members identified him as 32-year-old Philando Castile and said he died shortly after arriving at a hospital.
As word of Castile’s death and video spread, scores of people gathered at the scene of the shooting. The protesters then moved on to the governor’s mansion in nearby St. Paul, where around 200 people chanted and demanded action from Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.
“No justice, no sleep,” the protesters chanted. “Mark Dayton, do you care?”
The incident comes as police use of force, particularly against minorities, is back in the national spotlight after the video-recorded fatal shooting earlier this week of 37-year-old Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police. The U.S. Justice Department launched a civil rights investigation Wednesday into the shooting, which took place after Sterling, who was black, scuffled with two white police officers on the pavement outside a convenience store.
‘I told him not to reach for it’
The Facebook live video, posted late Wednesday night, appeared to show an incident like the one police described. It showed a woman sitting in a car with a man slumped in a seat wearing a shirt that appeared to be soaked in blood.
A person who appeared to be an armed police officer stood at the car’s window.
The woman can be heard saying, “We got pulled over for a busted tail light.”
She says that the man she identified as her boyfriend was licensed to carry a gun and was trying to get his ID and wallet when the officer shot him.
Police said in a statement that a handgun was recovered from the scene.
The officer tells her to keep her hands up and says, “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand out.”
“You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir,” the woman responds.
The Associated Press couldn’t immediately verify the authenticity of the video or confirm that it showed the aftermath of the Wednesday shooting.
Mangseth said he had been “made aware there was a livestream on Facebook” but said he had not yet seen the video and didn’t know anything about its contents.
‘I’m scared, Mommy’
The video goes on to show the woman exiting the car and being handcuffed. A young girl can be seen and is heard saying at one point, “I’m scared, Mommy.”
The woman describes being put in the back seat of the police car and says, “The police just shot my boyfriend for no apparent reason.”
Relatives of Castile described him as a good, hard-working man who had been employed for years as cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori school in St. Paul.
Clarence Castile spoke to the Star Tribune from the Hennepin County Medical Center, where he said his nephew died minutes after arriving.
He said Philando Castile had worked in the J.J. Hill school cafeteria for 12 to 15 years, “cooking for the little kids.” He said his nephew was “a good kid” who grew up in St. Paul.
Among other family members at the hospital was Philando Castile’s cousin, Antonio Johnson, who told the newspaper Castile was “a black individual driving in Falcon Heights who was immediately criminally profiled.”
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