Most people viewing the dash-cam footage of a routine traffic stop for broken taillights that resulted in the tragic police shooting of a man following the officer’s orders will be understandably upset because it could be any one of us behind that wheel. Many of the viewers believe that the officer should have been convicted of a criminal offense and sent to jail for executing Philando Castile, an innocent victim of a traffic stop.
But, let’s step back and look at the event in hindsight …
Philando Castile was armed when he was stopped and appropriately notified the officer. But, he could have handled the situation in a manner that would have reduced his chances of being shot. One, after announcing he was armed, he should have specified the location of the weapon. And two, before he reached for his license, he should have informed the office that he was reaching for his license – and asked for instructions how to do this safely if the license was located next to his weapon. This in no way mitigates the facts surrounding the shooting because Castile did nothing wrong and had restricted motion in the vehicle as he was still restrained by his seatbelt.
- The officer appears to be poorly trained. He did not ask Castile where the gun and license were located. He did not explicitly instruct Castile on how to provide him with the license in a safe manner. And, if you look closely, the office appears to become hyper-vigilant when he hears Castile has a weapon. You can hear the officer tell the on-scene supervisor that he told Castile not to reach for the gun and that Castile's "grip (was) a lot wider than a wallet." The officer says “I don't know where the gun was. He didn't tell me where the (expletive) gun was." Of course, the officer did not ask, which makes him culpable of poor procedure and judgment, but not criminally liable for the shooting. Discharging seven shots into a car containing a child is definitely irresponsible.
- When Castile allegedly reaches for his license, the officer inappropriately panics and shoots Castile. If anyone thought this was easy for the officer, listen to his breathing and panicky words after the shooting. There is no doubt in my mind that the officer was in fear for his life – and is struggling to maintain professionalism after the shooting although he is clearly upset. This is why the officer was acquitted of criminal charges. It does not mean he got off scot-free. He was terminated and lost his job and probably his career as a police officer. He may suffer psychological issues, including PTSD for the rest of his life. Nobody knows if he will be the subject of a civil suit, or heaven forbid, a federal civil rights investigation by those progressives who pander to black activists.
- Which brings us squarely to the cause of the officer’s apparent hyper-vigilant state. While this appears to be a routine traffic stop, the officer was already suspicious of the car’s occupants. “Yanez said he was going to stop a car to check IDs because two occupants look like armed robbery suspects. He says, "Driver looks more like one of our suspects just cause of the wide-set nose. ... I couldn't get a look at the other passenger, and I'll wait for you." <Source>
And then there is the general background of police hostility. Led by black activists and agitators, in connection with a corrupt and progressive mainstream media, we have seen anti-police rhetoric repeated endlessly 24/7 over the past months since Ferguson. Much of this rhetoric has been over-the-top and urging violence against police officers – resulting in the executions of a number of police officers who were attempting to protect the very community that is spewing hatred. It is not all blacks and not all community members that engage in these disruptive and destructive behaviors, but there are enough activists and agitators to keep the issue simmering. Even politicians pandering to their base are condemning law enforcement in an inappropriate manner.
If you are wondering why the usual suspects, the activists, and agitators are not even more active, it is most likely because the police officer that shot Castile is Hispanic and does not fit their main theme of “white oppression and privilege.”
But that does not stop the corrupt progressive media from trying to create another firestorm …
Acquittal in Philando Castile case is deja vu
Yet another black man dead, and yet another police officer exonerated for killing him. Seems a lot like deja vu. Haven't we seen this tragic movie before -- all over the country? When investigated, the police are not indicted. And when indicted, they are not convicted. The venue this time -- Minnesota; the victim, motorist Philando Castile.
So what did Castile do that led to this tragic fate? He was driving with a broken tail light while supposedly fitting the description of a robbery suspect. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the passenger seat while her 4-year-old daughter was in the back. Upon being stopped, he reported to Officer Jeronimo Yanez that he had a firearm on him. Thereafter, when attempting to produce his driver's license as instructed, and trying to unbuckle his seat belt to do so, he was shot dead in a hail of seven bullets.
That's it! No verbal confrontation. No physical altercation. No disrespect of the police officer. No questioning of law enforcement authority. Instead, Castile was totally and completely compliant. Yet, he lost his life anyway. Really!
What's even more compelling is that Officer Yanez appeared unhinged in the viral Facebook Live video. Even after firing the barrage of fatal shots, Yanez stands outside the car, with his gun still trained on a bleeding and dying Castile while yelling hysterically: "I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hands open." Contrast this with Reynolds' calm and composed demeanor, while she addresses Yanez as "sir," and reminds him that what he asked Castile to do was produce his driver's license.
While we have no choice but to respect the judicial process, and accept the jury verdict, can we really blame people for being outraged, and taking to the streets in peaceful protest? How did a jury not see what the rest of the world did? And why does, and how could, this continue to happen? Will there ever be accountability? Or will those who have guns, wear badges, and say that they feared for their life, be given repeated immunity?
To be clear, what everyone witnessed was the aftermath, and not the incident itself. However, Reynolds gave her rendition of events immediately after the shooting -- for the world to see. And the gun that Castile made sure to tell the officer he had, was still in his pocket when he was shot.
Yanez is the only one who appears to be hyper and out of control. Reynolds is respectful and polite -- despite witnessing her boyfriend dying before her. Even her 4-year-old daughter is more composed than Yanez, as she reassures her mom by saying "it's okay, I'm right here with you."
Isn't it the officer who is supposed to be trained and experienced in these encounters? Isn't it the officer who takes the oath to protect and serve? Isn't it the officer who must adhere to that oath by exercising good judgment and self-control? Isn't it the officer who should be calm, steady, even tempered, composed and courteous?
What does it say when a civilian is more level-headed and restrained than law enforcement? Worse, what does it say when a 4-year-old has to calmly sooth and reassure her mom after witnessing an officer lose his composure. Should we expect children to be more reasonable than a man with a badge and gun?
Oh, but wait, Yanez feared for his life. And let's not forget the marijuana in Castile's system that the defense made much of at trial. I guess that justified killing him, especially after he told the officer he had an gun, and was asked to produce his license. Not!
Let's be clear. No one is saying that Yanez woke up that morning in July last year looking to kill a black man. That's not what the jury was considering, nor is that what I'm claiming here. Instead, he was charged with acting carelessly, irresponsibly and unreasonably. Even Stevie Wonder could see that this was the case.
The fact that Castile is dead -- for no reason, and that yet another officer escapes accountability is a shame. The public expected better and deserved more from Yanez. Castile certainly did -- and so did his family. When will this madness stop?
<Source: CNN LEGAL ANALYST JOEY JACKSON>
If you watch any of the national coverage, you can see the blatant dishonest media trying to “nationalize” by stating: “If this can happen to a compliant innocent individual, it could happen to you.” Or confuse and conflate this situation with other politically-charged police actions which were found to be “in policy.” There is no doubt that the officer in Ferguson faced the imminent threat of being attacked by his assailant and his life was at risk.
Other media are excoriating the NRA for not issuing a statement supporting a licensed gun owner who was shot while reaching for his wallet.
And then there are those who are claiming that President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is not likely to bring a civil rights investigation.
Bottom line …
There is no doubt in my mind that this was an avoidable shooting by a poorly-trained officer. This could be symptomatic of a younger generation of officers, who due to environmental influences, are unduly afraid of engaging suspects of color or who operate within the war zones of the inner cities.
In this case, the prosecutor was absolutely correct in bringing criminal charges against the officer and letting the matter be adjudicated in the courts where evidence could be presented, weighed, and a judgment made. It appears that even the two black jurors voted to acquit the police officer in the Castile shooting.
This does not mean that this singular event will not cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in a wrongful death lawsuit that will be brought against the city. The Castile family is represented by Glenda Hatchett, another celebrity lawyer in the Gloria Allred mold and who was the star of a former court-based reality show.
We are so screwed.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius