Hours after he was fatally shot by an officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, the family of Philando Castile told CNN that he was always worried about carrying his handgun. And from very early on, Valerie Castile told her son what to do and say if he ever came in contact with an officer — a talk that black families know all too well. So when Philando was pulled over by St. Anthony police on Wednesday, he was prepared to follow all of the orders directed at him.
“That was something we always discussed. Comply,” Philando’s mother said on Thursday morning. “That’s the key thing, in order to try to survive being stopped by police. Whatever they ask you to do, don’t say nothing. Just do whatever they want you to do.”
Philando also made sure to act within the law by acquiring a permit to carry and completing the required concealed carry training, she said. But on the same day he was killed, Philando and his sister discussed the dangers of owning guns.
“They had a conversation about the concealed carry permits that they both have. And they were saying that, you know, to be cautious. My daughter said, ‘You know what? I really don’t even want to carry my gun, because I’m afraid that they’ll shoot me first and then ask questions later.’”
Watch a segment of the CNN interview:
Castile was shot during a traffic stop, shortly after he was pulled over for a broken tail light. When he was instructed to hand over his license and registration, he informed the shooting officer that he had a gun and a concealed carry permit. Nevertheless, Castile was shot while reaching for his wallet. And instead of administering first aid to Castile as he bled out in the passenger seat, the shooting officer kept his gun pointed inside the car.
Castile’s mother learned about the shooting from her daughter, who was screaming about the Facebook live video broadcast by Philando’s fiance, Diamond Reynolds, in the aftermath of the shooting. When they drove to the scene, Reynolds was sitting in the back of a police car. They weren’t allowed to talk to her at the time, but Valerie credits Reynolds for filming the deadly encounter.
In a separate Facebook live video posted Thursday morning, Reynolds explained to the press why she broadcast the incident live.
“I wanted everyone in the world to know that, no matter how much the police tamper with evidence, how much they stick together, they manipulate our minds to believe what they want, I wanted to put it on Facebook and go viral so that the people could see,” she said. “I didn’t do it for pity. I didn’t do it for fame. I did it so that the world knows that these police are not here to protect and serve us. They are here to assassinate us.”
Castile’s mother echoed that claim.
“Every day you hear of another black person being shot down, gunned down by the people that’s supposed to protect us,” Valerie said. “We’re being hunted, every day. It’s a silent war against African American people as a whole. We’re never free.”