People in Minnesota have taken to the streets after a police officer shot dead a black man Wednesday night in his car and the incident was streamed live on Facebook by a woman sitting in the passenger’s seat next to the victim. The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the incident that occurred a day after protests erupted over black man Alton Sterling’s shooting by a white police officer in Louisiana.
Wednesday’s shooting took place at a traffic stop in front of the woman and a child sitting in the car in Falcon Heights, a suburb in St. Paul area. St. Anthony Police Department's interim police chief Jon Mangseth did not identify the officer or the man. However, reports said that the victim was Philando Castile, a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul.
The live stream of the shooting was done through a private Facebook account belonging to Lavish Reynolds, who said in the video that Castile was her boyfriend. Mangseth said that Reynolds and the child were not hurt. The video went viral on social media with some users calling the shooting “uncalled.”
“I do not have a lot of information right now as to what the reason for the traffic stop was or what the circumstances were,” Mangseth said at a press conference early Thursday.
In the video, Reynolds said that Castile was pulled over for a broken tail light. She said that Castile, who was on the driver’s seat, reached for his license and registration in his wallet. Reynolds added that Castile told the officer that he had a firearm in his possession, and a conceal-and-carry permit.
Reynolds said, in the video [graphic content], that an officer shot her boyfriend four to five times. The officer in the video sounded overwhelmed and said, “I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand out.”
Reynolds, who appeared composed, told the officer, “You told him to get his I.D., sir, his driver’s license. ... Oh my God, please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.”
Reynolds was told to get down out of the car. At least three police officers are seen pointing guns at her and she said she was handcuffed.
Clarence Castile told the Star Tribune that his 32-year-old nephew was pronounced dead minutes after arriving at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. The deceased’s cousin, Antonio Johnson, told the newspaper that Philando Castile was “a black individual driving in Falcon Heights who was immediately criminally profiled and he lost his life over it tonight.”
KARE 11, an NBC-affiliate television station, reported that about 100 people gathered at the site where Castile was shot. Another crowd gathered outside the governor’s mansion in St. Paul.
Reports said that Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has been evacuated from his mansion.