So, the police dashcam video footage has been just released earlier today from the Philando Castile shooting in July 2016. This video hasn’t been released until today, due to it being held back as evidence in the officer’s trial.
This is the shooting that further enraged things in the U.S. going on with the Black Lives Matter movement, due to it being another unfortunate case of a black male shot and killed by police, but was exacerbated by the fact that Castile had a permit for the legal gun in his possession, and also due to the fact that his girlfriend who was in the vehicle at the time (along with her four-year-old daughter too) actually live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.
The police officer in question, Jeronimo Yanez, was charged with manslaughter after the shooting occurred in the state of Minnesota last summer. He was just acquitted of all charges just late last week. Yet, the police department he worked for in the city of St. Anthony has now also decided to terminate him regardless of his acquittal.
Jeronimo Yanez, as the police officer, is a Latino male police officer. Philando Castile, as the shot and killed driver, was a 32-year-old black male, who worked as an elementary-school cafeteria worker, and had a proper permit to own the firearm that was found in the vehicle with him.
Yanez’s defense pointed to the fact that Castile was high on marijuana at the time of the shooting, as to a reason why he was not listening to the officer’s commands, and that Yanez stated that Castile was going for the gun.
So, all that said, here’s the link for the video. Mature subject matter, obviously. Please use your discretion…
Video: Dashcam Video, full screen
CBC News: Dashcam video shows officer firing 7 shots into Philando Castile car
I gotta say…
Fuck me. I don’t know what to say.
There’s been a lot of videos of officer-involved-shootings in the U.S. lately, and be it from the Michael Brown shooting to the Tamir Rice shooting to the Jamar Clark shooting, I’ve personally believed that the racial profiling, on the part of protesters, has slanted their view more than that of the officers involved; I myself have seen all those videos / publically-released reports now, and felt that, whether I personally agreed with them or not, or whether I would have done the same or not, that the officer’s actions could be justified. (And grain of salt here – that’s as an outside person, seeing only what anyone else in the public can see, and trying to look at it from an informed position, but understanding that I may not have all the info, and it’s just an opinion.)
But this video…
The sheer terror. The anger mixed with terror that the officer displayed afterwards. I don’t know if that’s solely and only a stress reaction to the incident at hand, but it doesn’t look like racism to me. To say this was “another” racist shooting is out of hand frankly (and yes, the cop was Latino, but it doesn’t matter that way either, in my opinion). It’s reactionary vile of the “hands-up-don’t-shoot” variety spouted off by those that want to add fuel to the fire to anything race related in the U.S. Take this exact same shooting, and put a white driver and a black officer with the EXACT same scenario and action run through to the exact same conclusion (just changing up the colours and roles therefore), and you won’t see people saying it’s racist.
But it does look terrifying to me. Did the officer actually react according to his training, due to the threat to life that he perceived, and therefore did he act properly per his training? Or did the officer overreact? I dunno. The biggest thing with that is whether or not the threat to life was a “reasonable belief” / reasonable threat.
Did the driver actually reach for the gun? Even with the girlfriend sitting in the front seat, she may not have actually seen what the officer saw, nor knew what the subject was thinking / doing. No matter what the court and jury decided (and, they decided outright that they believed the officer’s defense 10-2 at the beginnings of deliberations, and then unanimously acquitted him in the end), only Officer Yanez himself and Castilo himself truly know what happened, and what each other’s intents were.
All I know is, this video, and the anguish for all involved, is the only one in a good long time that had me have such a gut-wrenching reaction.
I honestly felt violently ill after watching this one.
I’ve had a time once that I’ve screamed at someone like that, asking them why they’ve put me (and us both) in the situation they did. And that wasn’t even a “gun’s-out” situation.
And, it almost sounds indefensible. Almost of the “why’d-you-make-me-do-that” rationale that spousal abusers and their ilk will use afterwards to justify their actions.
But, it can be real.
No matter what I’ve done / will do in my policing career, no matter what I’ve done / will do in my soldiering career, either at home in Canada or overseas, I do fully understand that policing in the U.S. is a completely different beast from what I do. I’ve said to many friends and family – stereotyping as it may be – that I really don’t think I could be a street cop in U.S. cities such as Miami or New York or Los Angeles. And that from a guy that’s stood downrange from baddies in strange overseas spots, and had a good couple of gun’s-out situations in my short-so-far policing career…I just know that what U.S. cops deal with is, well, different. Not better or worse, but different.
This one video was just absolutely gut-wrenching to watch.
There can be both victims and perpetrators on all sides.