On July 6, 2016, the Black Lives Matter movement was riled up following the wrongful killing of yet another black man in his prime. Philando Castile joined the growing statistics of people whose lives were cut short in the most painful and gruesome manner and most people would say it happened because of the color of his skin. Posthumously, the 32-year-old became famous, mostly because of the immediate aftermath of the event that led to his death – his girlfriend had live-streamed the whole incident of police brutality for millions of people all over the world to watch.
Read further for the background information on Philando Castile, how his life ended and what the law had to say about it. You will also get to know what happened to the police officer who pulled the trigger.
Who Was Philando Castile?
Before he was thrust under the spotlight as a result of his tragic death, Philando Castile was a regular guy who worked hard to earn an honest living. He was born on July 16, 1983, and named Philando Divall Castile. His parents welcomed him in St. Louis, Missouri at the time of his birth.
Castile was an alumnus of Saint Paul Central High School where he finished from in 2001. There is no record of a college education but he started working as a nutrition services assistant at Chelsea Heights Elementary School and Arlington High School before he joined the Saint Paul Public School District in 2002. He remained there until his death. In 2014, his rank went up to nutrition services supervisor at J. J. Hill Montessori Magnet School.
Although he had no criminal record, Philando Castile had been on the wrong side of the law several times before the event that claimed his life. Fifty-two is the number of times he was stopped by the authorities for violating traffic rules and on some of the cases, he was placed under arrest.
The Shooting of Philando
On that fateful day, July 6, 2016, officer Jeronimo Yanez and his patrol partner, Joseph Kauser, pulled over a black American man (Philando Castile) while he was driving in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, along with his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter. The St. Anthony Minnesota police officers stopped them in a suburb of Saint Paul, MN for a routine check which involved checking of IDs, as well as license and registration. In the process, Castile, 32, made it known to Yanez that he was in possession of a firearm which he was also licensed to carry. Afraid that he might use the gun on him, Yanez decided to act first by firing seven shots at Castile, hitting him five times.
The conversation which ensued before the shooting shows that Castile was reaching for something which Yanez thought was a gun and warned him not to pull it out. While Castile explained that he wasn’t pulling out his gun, the officer was too rattled to listen and began shooting at him in quick succession.
Meanwhile, moments after the ugly turn of events, Reynolds summoned the courage to go live on Facebook, sending the feed to millions of viewers and soon, the story went viral with many condemning the act of police violence against the black community which has become common. According to Reynolds, the officers didn’t bother to save her boyfriend’s life as they watched him pass on gradually. About twenty minutes after the shooting, Castile was confirmed dead at the Hennepin County Medical Center. His death was ruled as a homicide due to multiple gunshot wounds. His funeral service was later held at the Cathedral of Saint Paul on July 14.
Amid the resounding uproar from the general public, Yanez was acquitted of all charges. He was declared a free man on June 16, 2017, and lost his job the same day.
His Girlfriend, Mother, Daughter
Philando Castile is survived by many relatives including his mother Valerie Castile, girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, and her daughter – both of whom witnessed his death. Although he has been absent from his life long before his death, Philando’s father, identified as Phelix H. Frazier Sr., wanted his own share of the $3 million settlement which the family received after the murder case came to an end.
The deceased had no known offspring asides his girlfriend’s daughter to whom he played fatherly roles.