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.”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:
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.
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.”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.
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.