Philando Castile, a 32-year-old Black man, was shot 4 times on Wednesday by a police officer in St. Paul, Minnesota, during a regular traffic stop. His girlfriend captured the aftermath of the video on Facebook Live, in which she notes that Castile was reaching for his identification before he was shot. Castile died later on at a nearby hospital, due to the gunshots, a day after Alton Sterling was killed by two police officers, while being pinned to the ground, in Baton Rouge, LA.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota made an official statement regarding the killing and cited his intentions to have the Federal Government perform an investigation:
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and community of Philando Castile. Our state today grieves with them.
This morning, I spoke by phone with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to request that the U.S. Department of Justice begin an immediate independent federal investigation into this matter.
Overnight, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension began an independent investigation at the state level. They are currently collecting all necessary evidence, and interviewing witnesses, to determine what happened, and to assure that justice in this case is served. I will do everything in my power to help protect the integrity of that investigation, to ensure a proper and just outcome for all involved.”
The killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have sparked outrage all over the nation. Despite Jay Z releasing a song about police brutality or The Game marching to the LAPD headquarters, what’s perhaps most touching are the comments from Castile’s own community. Castile was a cafeteria supervisor who worked in the public school system of St. Paul for 10 years, most recently at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School. He was loved by students, parents, family, and friends, and had received a supervisory promotion two year ago.
Sami Gabriel, president of Teamsters Local 320, of which Castile was a member, said: “I have known Philando ‘Phil’ Castile since he joined the Teamsters back in 2002 and he was an amazing person who did his job at St. Paul Public Schools because he loved the children he served.”
“I am deeply sorry for his family and for their loss,” St. Paul Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva said in a statement. “He’s worked in SPPS for many years and he graduated from our district, so he was one of our own.”
“He smiled at everybody who came in the building,” said Joan Edman, a paraprofessional at J.J. Hill for seven years. “I remember him saying, ‘I just want everybody here to be happy.’ He wanted the cafeteria to be a happy place. It was a huge goal, and not an easy one, and he did it.”
One coworker said, ‘Kids loved him. He was smart, over-qualified. He was quiet, respectful, and kind. I knew him as warm and funny; he called me his ‘wing man.’ He wore a shirt and tie to his supervisor interview and said his goal was to one day ‘sit on the other side of this table.’
“They took a good man, a hard-working man; he worked since he was 18 years old,” Castile’s mother Valerie said as she left the hospital early Thursday.
Rest in peace, Philando Castile.