“The police did this to me! They took an innocent man away from us! He didn’t do anything. He did exactly what the police asked,” lamented Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds to a crowd of supporters and media on Thursday following the as-yet unexplained police shooting death of her boyfriend, Philando Castile.
Castile, Reynolds and her four-year-old daughter had been pulled over by St. Anthony, Minnesota, Police for a broken tail light on Wednesday night, but as Reynolds grieved Thursday,
“The police officer stopped us for a busted tail light that was not busted. They pulled us over on the side of the road, asked for license and registration. As he was reaching for his license and registration, he told the officer that he was licensed to carry and had [a firearm]. As he got back, comfortable, the police took four or five shots into him for no reason.
“They took his life for no reason. They did this to my daughter and they did this to me and now I want justice,” Reynolds demanded through tears.
Despite the ordeal of seeing her boyfriend inexplicably, repeatedly shot by police in front of her child, Reynolds somehow had the presence of mind to livestream the aftermath of the shooting to Facebook.
Reynolds said later she wanted that footage — in which Castile is seen soaked in blood, hunched over in his seat, with the officer’s weapon still pointed in his direction — to go “viral,” because, she asserted, “police are not here to protect and serve us. They are here to assassinate us.
“I wanted everyone in the world to know how much [the police] tamper with evidence and how much they manipulate our minds. I wanted it to go viral so that people could determine themselves as to what was right and what was wrong.”
Grief-stricken and sobbing, Reynolds managed to deliver a scathing commentary on police violence in America, as a tragically telling number of other families of victims have done in recent years.
“It’s not right, it’s not right,” she cried, “these police should not be able to just … bear arms on innocent people — in front of kids! My daughter will be forever scarred by what a police officer did to us. For no apparent reason.
“They asked him for identification, and before they gave him a chance to get it, they beared [sic] arms on him.”
She continued, “[The officer] killed him for no reason. He was never a bad man. He was the quietest, most laid-back person. Nothing in his body language said ‘intimidation.’ Nothing in his body language said ‘shoot me.’ Nothing in his body language said ‘kill me.’”
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Worse — as her original video appears to evidence — Reynolds asserted that after Castile had been shot multiple times, “nobody checked his pulse” and the officer was “still standing there with his gun still drawn after he was shot.”
Worse still, police gave her the incorrect hospital for where Castile had been taken.
“They sent me in the wrong direction,” Reynolds said. “I never got to see him. I never got to say my last words to that man.”
In the horrific live video Reynolds taped immediately after the shooting, she described for viewers what had just taken place — while focusing the phone on Castile, who appeared unconscious and was bleeding heavily from his side:
“We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back and he’s covered … They killed my boyfriend. He’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket and he let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm. We’re waiting for—”
At this point, the obviously paranoid cop tells Reynolds to keep her hands “where I can see them.”
A bit later, the officer can be heard attempting to justify what he’d done, likely aware Reynolds was now taping the aftermath.
“I told him not to reach for it!” the officer yells, obviously panicked. “I told him to get his hand up!”
But as Reynolds fully explained on camera Thursday, there are major discrepancies between the officer’s and her interpretation of events, not the least of which was Castile’s apparent full cooperation and full disclosure he had a concealed weapon and permit — something he was under no legal obligation to reveal.
Reynolds’ video did, indeed, go viral — and as Castile’s shooting death was the second controversial killing by police in a single day, her efforts have helped to yet again highlight the cruel absurdity of the out-of-control police state once called the United States.
Sadly, Castile lost his life to arbitrary police violence just nine days before his 35th birthday.
“It’s not OK,” Reynolds wept. “A good man, a 35-year-old man who had never been fingerprinted, never been handcuffed. He has been taken away from his community.”