Everything anyone has ever said about staying safe while interacting with the police is wrong. That citizens are told to comport themselves in complete obeisance just to avoid being beaten or shot by officers is itself bizarre — an insane inversion of the term “public servant.” But Philando Castile, who was shot five times and killed by (now former) Officer Jeronimo Yanez, played by all the rules (which look suspiciously like the same instructions given to stay “safe” during an armed robbery). It didn’t matter.
Castile didn’t have a criminal record — or at least nothing on it that mattered. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been allowed to own a weapon, much less obtain a permit to conceal the gun. Castile told Yanez — as the permit requires — he had a concealed weapon. He tried to respond to the officer’s demand for his ID, reaching into his pocket. For both of these compliant efforts, he was killed.
Castile’s shooting might have gone unnoticed — washed into the jet stream of “officer-involved killings” that happen over 1,000 time a year. But his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, immediately live-streamed the aftermath via Facebook. Her boyfriend bled out while responding officers tried to figure out what to do, beyond call for more backup to handle a dead black man sitting in his own vehicle. Only after Yanez fired seven bullets into the cab of the vehicle did officers finally remove his girlfriend’s four year old daughter.