Thursday, July 07, 2016

Not good

We don't know much about what happened yesterday in Falcon Heights, but at first glance it doesn't look good:
A St. Paul man died Wednesday night after being shot by police in Falcon Heights, the aftermath of which was recorded in a video widely shared on Facebook in which the man’s girlfriend says the “police shot him for no apparent reason, no reason at all.”

Friends at the scene identified the man as Philando Castile, 32, cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul.

Castile’s cousin said on her Facebook page that he was dead. Castile’s uncle, Clarence Castile, who was at Hennepin County Medical Center with other family members, said Philando died at 9:37 p.m., a few minutes after arriving at the hospital.

The girlfriend started the live-stream video with the man in the driver’s seat slumped next to her, his white T-shirt soaked with blood on the left side. In the video, taken with her phone, she says they were pulled over at Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street for a broken taillight.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, the incident occurred north of the Fairgrounds, about four miles southeast of where I live. Larpenteur Aveune is the road that divides St. Paul from its neighboring suburbs. The geography in the area is a little murky; unless you know the area well, it's hard to know whether you are in Falcon Heights, or Roseville, or St. Paul. The officers involved were St. Anthony officers. The St. Anthony police department provides policing for St. Anthony, Falcon Heights and the neighboring community of Lauderdale. St. Anthony itself is literally steps from my house; my house is on the border between St. Anthony and New Brighton.  I see St. Anthony officers driving around just about every day; I also see officers from Roseville and New Brighton driving around our area all the time. I'm telling you these details because it will help you to understand what the girlfriend is saying. Back to the Star Tribune report:

The girlfriend said on the video that the officer “asked him for license and registration. He told him that it was in his wallet, but he had a pistol on him because he’s licensed to carry. The officer said don’t move. As he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm four or five times.”

The video shows a uniformed police officer holding a pistol on the couple from outside the car. The officer can be heard to say, “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand out.”

The girlfriend says in the video that her boyfriend was shot by a Roseville police officer.

St. Anthony police Sgt. Jon Mangseth, who is the interim police chief, told reporters at the scene that the primary officer who initiated the traffic stop and the backup officer who responded were St. Anthony police officers.
From what I can tell, protests have begun and apparently people are already out in front of the governor's mansion in St. Paul. I have a feeling we'll be talking a lot about this event, and the aftermath, in the coming weeks. I don't want to prejudge the situation, but I'm confident in saying this -- if an officer pulls someone over for a broken taillight, it shouldn't end this way.


Bike Bubba said...

Some things of note:

1. Not helpful for people to immediately assume this was a DWB issue when the video only shows the aftermath. Hard to arrest for DBW at night anyways, no?

2. Many officers look up license plates to find outstanding warrants and carry permit status before walking up to the car pulled over. So he probably knew immediately whether he had a valid permit, or was carrying illegally. his computer log will tell whether he did this.

3. Body camera footage, I hope.

Mr. D said...

We'll see about all those potential factors, Bubba. I have a theory about what happened, based on what I know about the St. Anthony PD, but I'm waiting to learn more. Way too much fog of war at this point.

R.A. Crankbait said...

I have had just one, probably non-representative experience with the St.Anthony PD. Years ago my golf clubs were knicked at F.A. Gross GC while I was changing clothes in the locker room. I called the local constabulary (Roseville, IIRC) and while I waited at the course for an officer to arrive to take my statement I started calling all the Play It Again Sports places in town, starting with the nearest. I'd worked my way out to the Burnsville locations when the Roseville officer showed up, introduced himself and said, "You might want to hear this - they're about to bust the people who stole your golf clubs."

Turns out that, sure enough, the teens had chucked my clubs in the trunk of a car, stopped by to pick up a girlfriend and then walked into the St. Anthony PIAS about 10 minutes after I'd called and given a detailed description of my golf bag and clubs (the bag was distinctive). The manager at the store was so excited when he realized what had walked into his store. Under pretense of looking up a price he went in the back of the store and called the police, then preceded to negotiate aggressively (and time-consumingly) over every club in the bag while waiting for the police to arrive - which they finally did and I got to listen to the tactical comments as the SAPD guys moved in. The Roseville cop drove me over there to identify the clubs, and there was a lot of pricey camping gear in the getaway car as well that didn't seem to go with the youths. The SAPD and RPD cops had a discussion over who would get credit for the bust; the call had come into Roseville, but it had done down in St. A. SAPD got the collar, and they were happy to have an easy one fall into their hands like that. The officers were eagerly totaling up my estimated value of the clubs, trying to get the dollar amount as high as they could. I had a driver my brother had made for me; the officer said, "Oh, custom-made! That's got to be worth a lot!" I pointed out my putter to him and said, "You should take that into custody, it's a known offender." "Yeah, I've got one of those," he said.

They took some pictures and then I was able to take my clubs with me. By then I'd missed my round, of course. After the Roseville cop took me back to Gross I loaded everything up and made a stop at Domino's and picked up a large house special pizza and dropped it off at the Play It Again. I received a series of emails over the following months from St. Anthony as the case proceeded. Ultimately the offenders were shunted into a diversion program.

Bike Bubba said...

Another thought; the comments from Governor Dayton and the White House are extremely unhelpful. The body is not yet cold, and they're blaming the state and the nation instead of asking people to wait until some work is done.

R.A. Crankbait said...

Well, POTUS isn't one to hesitate before declaring some cops acted stupidly, and the Governor was probably just woken up from his nap and wondering why all those people were on his front yard. It will be interesting to see how the CC detail gets played (or eliminated) as this goes on. It kind of messes with the narrative.

I also note from the video that there was plenty of natural light. 9 p.m. in Minnesota this time of year is practically broad daylight. Plenty of light to see who is driving the car, and what he may have in his hands.

Paul said...

And it got worse in Dallas. We will see what the facts show.

Mr. D said...

Fog of war. If something I saw on the local news last night turns out to be true, my theory was wrong. And Paul is right, it got a whole lot worse in Dallas last night.