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Thursday, October 19, 2017

At a rally following the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, someone in the crowd shouted: “If police had helped him, he would have survived.”

Diamond Reynolds, Philando’s girlfriend, told the crowd that police did not even take his pulse, but rushed their colleague off to the side.

The disturbing footage, posted live to Facebook by Reynolds, initially shows the blood-stained Castile sitting upright, groaning at least once. He is then seen slumping to the left. The footage runs just over 90 seconds before Reynolds is ordered out of the car.

During that minute and a half, while Reynolds is broadcasting via her phone, there is sporadic back and forth between her and a police officer. There is brief glimpse of the officer holding a gun, still pointed at the vehicle.

Reynolds is told at one point to keep her hands where they can be seen.

This is a live situation, a shooting has just happened. There is a gravely injured individual in the driver’s seat, a second adult, and a child who witnessed the whole thing.

Other footage, from a witness, shows Castile lying on the ground just outside the vehicle, with officers around him. It is not known yet exactly how long after Reynolds was ordered from the car that this was filmed.

Police officers are not required to give medical assistance in an emergency. They do not, as a rule, have the training. They are required to “render” assistance, which means calling for paramedics as soon as possible.

Witnesses describe a scene of pandemonium within minutes of shots being fired, with multiple squad cars, and an ambulance arriving.

A black man being pulled over for a broken tail light, in what is an overwhelmingly white and Asian suburb, seems vaguely like some dangerous cliche.

He is asked for his drivers’ license and identification, by an officer described, variously at the rally and in the footage by Reynolds, as nervous and Chinese.

Castile reaches down to his side, and as he does, according to Reynolds, he tells the officer he has a concealed carry gun.

Then, the police officer has the safety catch off his holster, and his gun out, and he is shouting “don’t move,” and he is firing multiple rounds into the car, within what must have been seconds..

One of the speakers at the rally, held outside the Minnesota governor’s office, strongly suggested mental health evaluations should be standard for police officers.

There was madness, indeed, on the street in the suburbs of Minneapolis Wednesday, but you can be sure it is not confined to the state of Minnesota, that evening or this.

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Copyright 2016 The National Memo