Shooting of Mr. Castile

I don’t usually get too political, I do on occasion, but most of the time I keep things away from the political scene. I really, well, I feel that I really want to put an opinion somewhere. There was this shooting, almost a year ago now, of Philander Castile. The officer is clearly shown to stop the guy calmly, even arrogantly, and in a few seconds he unloads 7 shots into a vehicle to kill a person who might, I stress might have been going for a gun.

Overkill

A few things bother me about this. The first is, if you’re going to just subdue someone you don’t unload 7 shots, that is fear and panic taking over. The officer, in my opinion, was clearly reaction on a completely emotional basis there. This is an important note, police aren’t supposed to murder people, even if that person deserves to die, it is not their job to go killing people. They are not judge, jury, and executioner. Even if Castile is going for his gun and intends deadly harm, a police officer - knowing there is a baby in the car and a third party - should try to use “reasonable force”, 7 shots to someone is unreasonable and demonstrates his complete lack of control. In short, he freaked when he realized a black man in a car had a gun.

Tell a cop you can shoot, then try to shoot?

Why would Castile have told him that he had a gun if he intended to use it just seconds later? This makes no logical sense at all, even from a purely “I want to kill me a cop” standpoint that would have warranted killing the man, he told the cop he had a gun. Should he have not? You’re not permitted to get out of the car, you’re not permitted to do a lot of things. Had he tried to hand the officer the gun, he would have been shot for going for his gun. Had he refused to get his I.D., which is what his girlfriend claim he was doing, he would have gotten potentially arrested for failing to comply with orders from a police officer. The arrest would have found he had a gun and potentially ended the same way. In what way could Castile have stayed alive and gone about his day?

What would have been a win?

I would love to ask the officer, what he wanted Castile to do. He announces he his armed, which let me remind everyone reading, that is what you are supposed to do, you’re supposed to tell a police officer - I have a weapon in the car, I have a knife in my back pocket, I have a gun at my hip, etc… This is agreed upon so much that it has actually been the case in some trials a criminals intent has been determined by the fact that he or she refused to inform police that they had a weapon. So, what did the officer want Castile to do? Given that answer, why did the officer not order Castile to do that? How about tell Castile to put his hands on the wheel, he had backup there - where was his backup during all this? They could have had Castile put his hands on the wheel or the door, using backup removed him from the car and disarmed him - all without loss of life. The police officer, if they felt the situation was that dangerous could have also called for additional support after ordering Castile to put his hands on the dash, on the wheel, on the door, or anywhere that the cop could easily see them. Be calm, be patient, and wait for additional officers to arrive to assist in securing the suspect and removing the firearm.

Innocent until proven guilty.

I’d also like to remind everyone, our justice system here in America proudly says, often, you are innocent until proven guilty, which means that Castile should be seen as being exactly that. Not guilty of robbery as the cop suspected, and not trying to kill the cop.

So the cop asks for the license, is informed the suspect has a gun by the suspect. We will never know what truly happened inside that car, in Russia situations like this are why most cars are equipped with aftermarket cameras both looking in and looking out so that cops can’t blackmail you and insurance cannot take advantage of you.

Finally…

It seems to me that from the moment Castile was stopped, his fate was sealed. There is no scenario where he comes out ok. Failure to disclose the gun can get you shot in and of itself. Disclosing the gun did get him shot. Not going for his wallet, gets him arrested and possibly shot when the gun is found. Attempting to give the gun to the police officer, also would have got him shot.

The police officer panicked, and Castile paid with his life. It is sad and it is wrong and it is the stat of race relations in America. I have personally seen officers stop a man for “walking while black”. Last night a black man at 3am announces himself to me outside my house, and I thought it was really weird, until he said why, “I just like to announce myself so no body thinks I’m trying to come up on them. God bless.”

The state of affairs for people of color in this country is such that a random guy on a random street feels the need to tell everyone he’s there for fear that they will be afraid of him simply because he’s a big black guy, on a public street, less then 2 blocks from a police sub station.

Think about that. I don’t think anyone like myself, who is white, really can know what that’s like. That doesn’t mean I can’t talk about how horrible it is that anyone has to consider such things though. And a cop was acquitted today of what should have at least been manslaughter, if not downright murder. He was acquitted because he was a cop and the defendant was black. It is a fact, but it doesn’t have to be meaningless.

This should be a call to change. A call to look inside, and as Michael Jackson said, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to make a change.”

That is all.