You might know a Philando?

Dear Editor:

Philando Castile looked like many people I know, slender with glasses and dreadlocks. Also like other people I know, he had a permit to carry a gun; yet, there are no outraged NRA or Second Amendment people?

Castile did not fit the common narrative told about so many black victims of police shootings. He wasn’t a very big menacing guy with a long violent criminal record. Yes, he had been stopped more than 40 times for driving violations and had paid almost $6,000 dollars in traffic fines, but only six times had he been stopped for something a policeman could see outside of his car.

Most of Castile traffic stops came in predominately white neighborhoods.

He was not a killer or a drug dealer. Philando worked as a school cafeteria supervisor where he knew the first names of 500 kids.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez told Philando it was a bad taillight, but he told his commander Castile looked like a burglary suspect because he had a big nose.

Castile got into trouble like many poor white and black people do. Unpaid tickets that lead to high fines and suspensions stemming from having to drive to work to pay the fines. However, Philando driver’s license was good when he was shot.

A Minnesota commission reported that black people were seven times more likely than whites to be pulled over. The same state government that charged Castile $6,000 in traffic fines deemed him fit to own a gun. So where is the NRA? Why are they not defending Castle’s right to carry a firearm without getting shot?

There has been no public demonstration of support for Castile or any other black person while they bend over backward to hide behind the Second Amendment, vilifying anyone who wants less gun violence. All Presidents Clinton and Obama wanted was common sense gun control. Castile is dead because a nervous cop over reacted, rightfully afraid because of too many guns!

Officer Yanez said, “I feared for my life.” Just like George Zimmerman claimed he was in fear for his life. Just like the police officers that shot a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun in Ohio feared for their lives. Too many people have gotten off with the “I feared for my life” excuse when they were the ones who used deadly force.

Most police are killed by white men, yet the victims of most police shootings are black.

The NRA is for the people who make and sell guns!  Selling fear is big money! Especially fear of certain people.

Castile should not have died because he and Yanez misunderstood a command. Yanez escalated a situation that took a life and lost him his job. Society cannot keep giving police a free pass because they say they feared for their life.

A cop should be held accountable just like a doctor who commits malpractice. What is the difference between the policemen’s code of silence and the thug’s “no snitch culture?”

Good police and citizens pay the price. We as a society should insist that police are trained and paid better! Whether it means raising taxes or giving police a big cut out of lottery money, something needs to be done.

It is crazy to ask people in law enforcement to solve all of our social ills and pay them so little. Police need better training, more time with their families and more money! Good cops should also separate themselves from the ones who fail to live up to their sacred oaths. Everyone needs to take a stand for law, order and decency whether you wear a badge or not.

Philando Castile’s family got an out of court settlement for three million dollars, Officer Yanez was found innocent of all charges and a little girl witnessed her daddy’s murder.  What a great tragedy.

Rivers Cleveland

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