The devastated mother of a black man who was shot dead by a cop and whose death was live-streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend says she was prevented from seeing him on his deathbed.
Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile, 32, who was shot in Falcon Heights, Saint Paul, Minnesota on Wednesday night, also claimed they have been unable to locate Lavish Reynolds, his girlfriend, since she was arrested by police.
The shocking footage of the aftermath of the shooting has sparked protests in Saint Paul, with hundreds of people descending on the Governor of Minnesota’s house demanding justice. It is the second controversial police shooting of a black man to emerge in 24 hours.
In the video, Reynolds tells viewers that she and Castile were pulled over for a busted tail light by a ‘Chinese police officer’.
She claims the cop, from the St. Anthony Police Department in Falcon Heights, asked Castile, a cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori school in St Paul, to show his license, but then shot him four times while he reached for it.
As she talks, she moves the camera across to show Castile, bloody and losing consciousness, and the cop – still pointing his gun, as her young daughter sits in the back seat.
The police officer, who is yet to be identified, been placed on paid leave.
A crowd of around 200 protesters turned up outside Governor Mark Dayton’s residence in Saint Paul at 3am demanding for him to ‘wake up’ and speak to them. They shouted ‘no justice, no peace’ and video shows them chanting Castile’s name over and over in a moving show of unity.
A man outside the Governor’s house said on Twitter: ‘We’re protesting at the governor’s mansion. The police sent two delegates to make peace. They brought their guns.’
Governor Dayton was reportedly evacuated from the mansion. He has also porsponed a press conference he was due to give on water quality today.
The protesters earlier formed at the scene where Castile was shot. The crowd was heard chanting ‘we will stand our ground. We will not move’ as an officer tried to clear the area, KARE-TV reported. Crowds also gathered outside the hospital where Castile died.
In the shocking video, Castile is at first still conscious and intermittently swearing, while his head lolls around. The officer keeps his gun trained on the man.
Reynolds says to her Facebook viewers that Castile, who had minor offences on his criminal record, was licensed to carry a weapon and told the officer he had a firearm as he reached for his wallet and ID.
‘And the officer just shot him in his arm,’ she says.
‘Ma’am, keep your hands where they are,’ the cop says, sounding panicked. He then appears to shout ‘F***!’
‘He just shot his arm off,’ says Reynolds, maintaining her calm.
‘I told him not to reach for it!’ the cop screams, sounding close to tears. ‘I told him to get his hand open.’
‘You told him to get his ID, sir, you told him to get his driver’s license,’ she says. And suddenly the reality seems to hit her, as Castile appears to stop moving.
‘Oh god, don’t tell me he’s dead,’ she says. ‘Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that… please don’t tell me that he’s gone.’
The cop tells her to keep her hands ‘where they are, please’ and she agrees, but then goes back to chanting about her boyfriend’s possible death. ‘Please don’t tell me this Lord, please Jesus don’t tell me that he’s gone.’
‘Please officer don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir,’ she says, her voice finally beginning to crack with emotion. ‘He was just getting his licence and registration, sir.’
At that moment, other officers are heard telling Reynolds to exit the car and walk backwards towards her. She asks if they have her daughter. In the distance a girl can be heard crying.
They tell her to get on her knees while they cuff her – ‘Ma’am you’re just being detained right now until we just get this all sorted out, okay?’ says one of the new officers.
‘They threw my phone, Facebook,’ Reynolds says, before finally breaking down as another siren – possibly an ambulance – is heard. ‘Please no,’ she wails, ‘Please don’t let him be gone.’
Other videos shared on Twitter by one user show cops performing CPR on a prone figure – presumably Castile – and later putting up crime scene tape.
At this point in Reynolds’s video, a man who sounds like the first officer can be heard shouting ‘F***’ at several points afterward, and Reynolds is heard in the distance telling cops how the cop ‘started shooting.’
She then begins wailing about how Castile is a ‘good man’ who ‘works for St Paul Public Schools… He’s never been in jail, anything. He’s not a gang member, anything.’
Reynolds then prays to God to protect Castile, saying: ‘You know we’re innocent, Lord. You know we’re innocent people.’
Her daughter is heard telling an officer she wants to collect her mommy’s purse.
Shortly afterward, the video cuts to Reynolds, sitting in a police cruiser – handcuffed, she says – with her daughter.
She repeats her story and begs anyone watching to come help her at the corner of Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street.
The camera moves over to her daughter for a moment; the girl looks sad and confused.
‘It was a Chinese police officer that shot him,’ says Reynolds. ‘He asked him for his license and registration, which was in the back of his pocket, because he keeps his wallet in his pocket.
‘And as he went to reach, he let the officer know before he was reaching that he had a firearm on him, and before he can let the officer know anything, the officer took off shots. About four or five rounds was shot.
‘And my boyfriend, I don’t know what condition he’s in, I don’t know if he’s okay or if he’s not okay. I’m in the back seat of a police car, handcuffed… they got machine guns pointed.’
Finally, Reynolds – who has mostly kept it together throughout the incident – breaks down.
The incident is being investigated by Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, although there will likely be calls for the US Justice Department and the FBI to take over.
St Anthony Police Department told Dailymail.com that Reynolds had been released at approximately 2am (3am EDT). Despite this, Castile’s mother said they were unable to locate her and the police wouldn’t let them talk to her.
‘I f***ing– I can’t f***ing–‘ she stutters, before screaming.
‘It’s okay,’ her daughter says. ‘I’m right here with you.’
In a statement, St. Anthony Police Department said: ‘On 07-06-2016 at approximately 2100 hours, a St. Anthony Police Officer effected a traffic stop on Larpenteur and Fry in the City of Falcon Heights, Minnesota.
‘During the stop, shots were fired. One adult male was taken to the hospital. We have been informed that this individual is deceased.
‘No one else was injured and the BCA has been called in to investigate this officer involved shooting. A handgun was recovered from the scene.
‘The BCA will provide additional information as their investigation progresses.’
Castile was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, according to The Star Tribune.
Sgt. Jon Mangseth, interim chief of St. Anthony Police Department told the paper that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been called in to investigate.
The officer involved in the shooting had worked for the force ‘in excess of five years’, Sgt. Jon Mangseth said.
He has not been identified but Reynolds claimed he was a ‘Chinese police officer’ in the video.
At a 2am press conference, the police chief confirmed Castile was shot by the officer at 9pm.
A gun was recovered from the scene and has been sent for processing.
The video had received more than 1.5million views in the four hours after it went live – and attracted a stream of horrified and angry comments.
‘Wtf man. F*** the police I swear this is bulls***,’ said one. ‘This is some f***ing BULLS*** I’m so tired of this s*** – the man isn’t moving why do they have their guns pointed at him,’ wrote another.
But many replied with messages of support and love for Reynolds – nicknamed ‘Diamond’ – and her family.
The video disappeared for around an hour after it was put up, causing angry accusations of censorship, but then returned with a ‘graphic content’ warning.
Reynolds’s entire Facebook profile also went down for the duration before returning.
His distraught mother said her son ‘lived by the law and died by the law’ and he worked as a cafeteria supervisor at the J.J Hill Montessorri School in St. Paul.
She tearfully told the Star Tribune outside hospital: ‘They killed my son. They took a good man, a hard-working man; he worked since he was 18 years old.’
She later told CNN that they wouldn’t let her see her son’s body and that she had not even had the chance to identify him ‘because they did not let me.’
She explained that she was first made aware of the incident when her daughter was watching it on Facebook.
‘My daughter was screaming in the house and I was like what’s going on with you and the live stream was going. I personally didn’t see it but I knew something was going on,’ she said.
‘We rode up to the incident but we couldn’t get to her to talk to her we were stopped by the police and I asked them where was my son at? I didn’t want to talk to anyone I just wanted to know where my son was because I didn’t want my son to die alone
‘First it was “I don’t know” and then it was the sergeant that was there at the site he came back and told me that he was at Hennepin County Medical Center and I said “well why did you take him there? Why didn’t you take him down to Regions hospital because I thought that was a little bit closer than Minneapolis.”
‘But by the time we got to Hennepin County Medical Center he was already deceased and they didn’t let me see my son’s body at all. I have not identified my son’s body because they did not let me.’
She then added: I think he was just black in the wrong place. We are being hunted every day. It’s a silent war against African American people as a whole. We are never free.’
Both of them said that ultimately they wanted ‘justice’.
She said she had always taught her son to ‘comply, comply, comply’ if he was ever stopped by police.