People have taken to social media and the streets to protest the police killing of a black man during a traffic stop in Minnesota, after the Facebook Live video feed of the incident spread. quickly on online networks.
Philando Castile, 32, was shot dead by police on Wednesday evening during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, near the Twin Cities. The shooting itself was not captured but video of its aftermath was broadcast live on a private Facebook Facebook,
account owned by Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds, also in the car at the time. The Minneapolis Star Tribune called the wife Diamond Reynolds; her Facebook username is Lavish.
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The video was briefly deleted from Facebook, but was later restored with graphic warning attached.
The clip was shared widely on Twitter TWTR,
, Facebook and YouTube GOOGL,
, before reporting on mainstream media, including local coverage in the Minneapolis area.
The use of live streaming social media, which Facebook first tested in December 2015 but has since spread, has provided a first-hand perspective on stopping traffic; it was not immediately clear whether officers also recorded the event. Civilian smartphone records have increasingly taken into account police-related incidents, including earlier this week in a separate shootout. Officers themselves are sometimes equipped with body cameras or use dash-mounted cameras in patrol cars.
The terms #FalconHeightsShooting and #PhilandoCastile were all the rage on Twitter Thursday. Some comments made it clear the role the Facebook Live video played, while others were angry:
Many were moved by the images and noted Reynolds’ behavior:
And “Black Lives Matter” banners were carried by people gathered outside the governor’s mansion in St. Paul:
Reynolds, who describes herself as Castile’s girlfriend, can be heard throughout the nearly 10-minute recording, which zooms in on at least one officer and the fatally injured man, as well as the young daughter of the woman who was in the back seat.
Reynolds said at one point the officer opened fire “for no apparent reason.” In the background, one of the officers can be heard shouting, “I told him not to hit him. I told him to put his hands up.
“You told him to get his ID, sir – his driver’s license,” Reynolds replies in the video. She also notices that her boyfriend tried to let the officer know that he had a firearm authorized to carry on his body.
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The St. Anthony, Minn., Police Department released a statement confirming that a fatal incident had occurred. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has called for a federal investigation into the shooting deaths.
Wednesday’s event follows another high-profile fatal shooting this week against a black man by police officers. In this incident, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a passerby made a video recording over the phone which was then shared, including by news organizations. In the Louisiana case, in which Alton Sterling, 37, was killed, police said their own body cameras came off during the arrest.
The Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation in the Sterling case.
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On Thursday afternoon, President Obama responded with a long Facebook post.
“… Whatever the outcome of such investigations, what is clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, of the racial disparities that appear in the system year after year, and of the resulting lack of trust between law enforcement and too many communities to quit. ‘they serve,’ Obama said.
“Admitting that we have a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who risk their lives to protect us every day,” he said. “This is to say that as a nation we can and must do better to institute best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement.”