MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The girlfriend of Philando Castile, a black man fatally shot by police during a traffic stop Wednesday night in Falcon Heights, spoke Thursday morning at a protest outside the Governor’s mansion in St. Paul.
“The police killed him in front of my daughter,” Diamond Reynolds said.
Castile, Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter were in a vehicle in Falcon Heights that was pulled over by police for a broken tail light. Reynolds said Thursday the tail light was not broken.
An officer asked Castile for his ID, Reynolds says, and when he reached for his license and registration he told the officer he had a conceal-and-carry permit for a gun and he had the gun with him. Reynolds says that’s when an officer shot Castile four or five times.
He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
“We don’t have to go through this. The police did this to us. He was showing his identification, he was licensed to carry and he was reaching for his ID in his back pocket. He told the officer as he was reaching for his license that he was licensed to carry.
“Police took four or five shots for no reason. They took his life for no reason. They did this to my daughter and they did it to me, and I want justice and I want peace,” Reynolds said. “They took an innocent man away from us.”
Reynolds recorded a live video on Facebook immediately after the shooting that went viral. Her daughter is heard telling her towards the end, “It’s OK mommy, I’m here.”
“My daughter has been stronger than me. Without this little angel by my side, I would have never been able to make it through this. She told me she would never leave my side, and she’s been there through all of this,” Reynolds said.
The incident sparked protests overnight that started at the shooting scene and eventually spilled over to the Governor’s mansion as they demanded justice from Mark Dayton.
Reynolds said she was taken into custody after the shooting and wasn’t released until 5 a.m. Thursday. She said they dropped her off at her doorstep.
“The police, the people that are supposed to serve and protect us, are not serving us and they are not protecting us. They are taking innocent people away from their families, innocent people off the streets and it’s not OK,” she said. “I will not be able to sleep until I get justice.”
Reynolds said Castile worked for St. Paul Public Schools for more than 10 years and never had a criminal record. He would’ve turned 35 in nine days.
“That man should not be home with his family, he should be somewhere in jail, handcuffed,” Reynolds said of the officer in the shooting. The officer has not been identified.