As the American public continues to learn details about the death of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota last week, local news station KARE-TV has obtained the audio recording of the police scanner, and that audio seems to dispute several items being widely reported by the mainstream media. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office issued a statement that Castile died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds at 9:37 p.m. in a hospital emergency room, about 20 minutes after he was shot.
Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, live-streamed part of the incident on Facebook. Reynolds told NBC News that the officer’s “energy was off” when he approached their car and that she was going to video record the incident as soon as she was able to. The video has added fuel to the national tensions about police harassment of minorities and cop violence.
Discrepancy #1: Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds, said they were stopped by police for a broken taillight. But according to police scanner audio, the main reason Castile was pulled over is because he matched the description of a suspect for a July 2 armed robbery. State police had released a bulletin soliciting community help in locating two black men who held up a convenience store less than 2 miles away on the same street where officers stopped Castile. The men had stolen cash and cigarettes while holding the store clerk at gunpoint. One of the suspects was described as having longer dreadlocks, and the other man was described as having shoulder-length dreadlocks, a small mustache and some hair on his chin. Castile had dreadlocks and a goatee.
Discrepancy #2: It has been widely reported that the officers on the scene did not immediately call for medical help once Castile was shot, but the scanner audio confirms that they did in fact call for medical attention.
Discrepancy #3: Original reports have claimed that Castile was a law abiding citizen with only citations for “driving without insurance.” CNN reported that Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, has said “my son was a law-abiding citizen, and he did nothing wrong,” she said. “He’s no thug. I think he was just black in the wrong place.” The New York Post reports that court records reviewed by the Associated Press show that while Castile had no felony record, he had been pulled over more than 50 times since 2002 for a variety of minor offenses. Over half of the offenses were not pursued, but in those instances where Castile was ticketed, he accumulated more than $6,500 in fines. The Daily Mail in the UK reported that Castile, 32, had racked up 63 violations in the 14 years since obtaining his driver’s license, for charges such as speeding, failure to wear a seat belt, driving after his license was revoked, no proof of insurance, improper display of plates, and numerous parking violations.
Many in the media have decided and reported that racism motivated officer Jeronimo Yanez to shoot Castile, but the officer has said that this is not the case. Yanez said he shot Castile due to “the presence of the gun and the display of that gun inside the vehicle.” Meanwhile, Reynolds’ story about what happened prior to the video has been changing. She initially stated that Castile told the officer he had a gun on his person and that he had a legal permit for it. Castile was then allegedly shot by the officer when reaching for his license. Mainstream media has speculated that the officer thought Castile was reaching for his gun. But later, Reynolds told ABC’s Good Morning America that the officer never asked about the weapon. “The gun never came out, it could never be a threat. He (the officer) didn’t ask about it, he didn’t know it was on his person,” Diamond Reynolds said in an exclusive interview. “He came to the car, he said it was a traffic stop for a taillight. He asked for license and registration. That was it, that was all.”
Hopefully the next few days will uncover all the evidence—and the truth—about what actually happened in Minnesota.