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Police Shooting Kills Permit Holder

Police Shooting in Falcon Heights Kills Black Permit to Carry Holder

Last night, Philando Castile was killed (likely murdered) by St. Anthony police, in Falcon Heights. Philando, his girlfriend, and child, were pulled over for an alleged broken taillight. Tragically, it ended with Philando being shot numerous times, which lead to his untimely death. This is an unfortunate and all too-common narrative.

Philando Castile was on his way back from getting his haircut when he was stopped by St. Anthony police for an alleged equipment failure. His girlfriend streamed a video of the aftermath of the shooting (Warning:Blood/NSFW). In the video, she states that when Philando was asked for his license and insurance, he reached for his wallet and told the officer that he was carrying a firearm.

Before I get into the next portion of this, I have an important segue. Philando had his permit to carry a firearm. Minnesota law allows permit holders to carry a loaded firearm on their person, in their motor vehicle. It also requires that:

(d) Upon the request of a peace officer, a permit holder shall disclose to the officer whether or not the permit holder is currently carrying a firearm.

The wording is specific. ‘Upon the request of a peace officer’ is the important portion here. A permit holder ONLY has to inform an officer if the officer explicitly asks. Philando offered this information before the officer even asked. In theory, this should help deescalate the situation since he is offering that information before the officer has to ask for it.

Dreadfully, this appeared to incense the officer. Before Philando has time to show his license and permit, the officer fires numerous shots into Philando. The officer also had no regard for the safety of the child in the back seat, or Philando’s girlfriend in the passenger seat. Any of these bullets could have ricocheted or deviated and hit Philando’s passengers.

The video starts after Philando has been incapacitated, and his girlfriend calmly explains the situation while the officer is yelling at her. The officer also makes no effort to render aid after the shooting, despite it being required by law. If the officer, or any officer, tried to render aid, Philando may have survived.

This is the epitome of the juxtaposition of People of Color lawfully carrying firearms, versus whites lawfully carrying firearms. I have had numerous traffic and terry stops with officers while carrying. Many of these times I never mentioned I had a firearm until explicitly asked. None of these stops have I felt threatened, or had police officers draw their firearms on me. Let alone shoot me. If you don’t think systemic racism exists, I have a island on mars to sell you.

Published inActivismFirearmsLawPolice AccountabilityPolice BrutalityPolitics

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