July 16, 1983
July 6, 2016
Age at Death:
Philando Castile was born in St. Louis, Missouri and at some point moved to St. Paul, Minnesota. He was a straight-A's honors student at St. Paul Central High School and a few of his friends even called him “Doc.” At 19, Castile began working for the Saint Paul Public Schools, he most recently worked as the cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori school. Parents and co-workers say Castile often took time to greet every child who came to the lunchroom and even gave extra food to kids who needed it. He took his job very seriously; he knew each child by name, their allergies and pin number. He was known for paying for their meals out of his own pocket. The school’s website describes him as a “team player who maintained great relationships with staff and students alike. He was quick to greet former co-workers with a smile and hug.” In fact, one of the co-workers said, “Kids loved him. He was smart, over-qualified. He was quiet, respectful, and kind. I knew him as warm and funny; he called me his ‘wing man.’”
Castile was pulled over as part of a traffic stop two police officers in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of Saint Paul; he was with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and their four-year-old daughter. Castile was asked to show his drivers license to which he informed the officers that he had a gun on his person as well as a license to carry it before moving to reach for his license. He informed the officer that he was reaching for his ID in his wallet, when the officer fired 7 shots in his direction. Of the seven shots fired by the officer at point blank range, five hit Castile and two pierced his heart.Events immediately after the shooting were streamed live in a 10-minute video by Reynolds via Facebook.The graphic video shows Castile holding his arm and struggling for breath, while his shirt is covered in blood and Reynolds is talking to the officer. "You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.", Reynold's said. Video from the squad car where Reynolds and her daughter were put after Reynolds was handcuffed, shows Reynolds' daughter telling her, "Mom, please stop cussing and screaming 'cause I don't want you to get shooted".
Was justice served?
As of July 2016, justice has not been served. On November 16, 2016, Ramsey County prosecutor, John Choi led the case against the officer, who was charged with one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. However, on June 16, 2017, the verdict of Castile’s case acquitted the officer of all charges. The city officials stated that they will offer the officer a “voluntary separation.” Castile’s mother, Valerie, spoke out about her thoughts on the verdict saying, “I will continue to say murder. I am so very, very, very disappointed in the system here in the state of Minnesota. Nowhere in the world do you die from being honest and telling the truth.” His sister, Allysza, who was holding back tears said, “He didn’t deserve to die the way he did. I will never have faith in the system.” Prosecutors stated that instead of shooting Philando Castile, the officer could have taken less severe steps like asking Castile to show his hands or inquiring about where the gun was located. In the startling video shot by Castile’s girlfriend, the officer can be heard yelling, “I told him to get his hand out,” to which Diamond Reynolds calmly replies,“You told him to get his ID, sir.” Prosecutors stated Castile’s last words were: “I wasn’t reaching for it.”