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Could The Police Have Saved Philando Castile’s Life?

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Could The Police Have Saved Philando Castile’s Life?

Diamond Reynolds weeps after she recounts the incidents that led to the fatal shooting of her boyfriend Philando Castile by Minneapolis area police during a traffic stop on Wednesday, at a "Black Lives Matter" demonstration, in front of the Governor's Mansion in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S., July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Miller

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.



  1. Charles van Rotterdam July 9, 2016

    What gets to me about this shooting, apart from the tragic death of Philando, is that there was a 4 year old child in the back seat, The police officer shot from the front, he must have seen the child and yet he still fired his gun towards her. There could easily have been two deaths here because the police officer acted negligently and in an obvious panic.

    1. Shirley Herrin July 10, 2016

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  2. Dominick Vila July 10, 2016

    What becomes evident, after reading preliminary reports and watching the video filmed by Philando’s wife, is the fear and suspicion that exists between ethnic minorities and the white majority in the USA. Another issue worth considering is the dichotomy between those who support the sale of weapons to anyone, even suspected terrorists, and the reaction of some white people, including trained police officers, when they learn that a black or Latino man has a REGISTERED gun.
    I have no idea whether or not Philando could have been saved, what is readily apparent is that a very scared police officer shot him multiple times. The same is true for what happened in Baton Rouge, and what has happened in multiple cities throughout the United States, too frequently, more often than not without consequences for the officer that fired the shots. Not even an indictment, let alone a conviction. We need cool heads, reflection, and pragmatism to identify the root causes for what is happening in the USA, and find solutions – which are likely to be very difficult and time consuming to implement – to preclude the escalation of tensions, and potential violence, that is likely to occur if nothing is done. These incidents are happening too often, and regardless of what some people pretend, they are demonstrations of a society in trouble. Reflection and action are needed immediately.
    On the issue of guns, it is true that guns are inanimate objects that don’t kill by themselves, and it is true that the 2nd Amendment could be interpreted as every American having the right to bear arms, but those guns sure make it a lot easier to massacre multiple people, it is also true that there is something called common sense, and it is true that, at least theoretically, our laws and law enforcement institutions are designed, at least theoretically, to protect the rights and lives of the civilian population.

  3. LCR78 July 10, 2016

    This whole situation sucks. What was the cop thinking? There was 4 year old in the back seat. Also, a lot of dead people would be dead in this country, if someone with a concealed carry permit is shot by a cop when they are stopped.


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