One day after the shooting death of Alton Sterling, another community searches for answers
in the aftermath of officer-involved shooting that was captured on a phone video.
In the moments after a routine traffic stop that ended in the shooting of her boyfriend, Lavish Reynolds took to Facebook Live to tell their story. According to Reynolds, recording beside her dying boyfriend in a car with her 4-year-old daughter in the backseat, an officer demanded to see his license and registration. Her boyfriend, 32-year-old Philando Castile, a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul, informed the patrolman that he was carrying a licensed firearm and that he was reaching for his identification.
The Facebook Live video, approximately 10 minutes long, begins with Castile in the driver’s seat. His shirt sleeve is soaked in blood. Reynolds is in the passenger seat. [See the video below—WARNING: It is graphic and disturbing.]
“He’s licensed to carry,” Reynolds says. “He was trying to get his ID and his wallet out his pocket, and he let the officer know that he had a firearm and was reaching for his wallet, and the officer just shot him in his arm.” The officer, who appears on camera and can be seen still pointing his gun at the car, sounds very distraught throughout the video, alternating between sobs and loud swearing.
In another part of the video, Reynolds has been removed from the car. “He don’t deserve this,” she pleads. “He’s a good man. He works for St. Paul Public Schools. He doesn’t have no record of anything. He never been to jail—anything. He’s not a gang member—anything.” Reynolds can also be heard praying. “Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that Please, Jesus, don’t tell me this, Lord.”
Reynolds later broadcasts while handcuffed in the back of a police car. As she cries, her four-year-old daughter is heard comforting her. “It’s okay, mommy, I’m right here with you,” the girl says.
Castile was taken to the hospital, where he died.