A woman whose boyfriend was fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer during a routine traffic stop brought the shooting immediate national attention after she live-streamed the graphic aftermath on Facebook Live.
Lavish Reynolds was in the passenger seat when her boyfriend, 32-year-old Philando Castile, was shot multiple times by a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.
Reynolds streamed the shooting’s aftermath as Castile bled through a white T-shirt as a St. Anthony Police Department officer continued pointing a gun at him. Castile died a short time later at a hospital. His killing came a day after police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana fatally shot Alton Sterling, a black man who had been selling CDs outside of a convenience store. The shootings of both Castile and Sterling may have motivated the Dallas shooter of multiple police officers.
You can watch the video Reynolds filmed below.
Warning: The video contains graphic content.
Here’s what you need to know about Reynolds:
1. Reynolds Is a Hotel Worker Who Was Born in Chicago
According to her Facebook page, Lavish Reynolds works at the Embassy Suites hotel in housekeeping. She says on her page that she was born in Chicago and lives in Indianapolis. In the video, she identifies the shot man as her boyfriend. She says that he works for St. Paul schools, is not a gang member and doesn’t have a criminal record.
Reynolds and Castile had just been at a shop to get his hair done because his birthday was coming up July 16 when the officer stopped their cacr, she said Thursday morning, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
2. She’s a Mother & Goes By the Name Diamond
A child could be heard crying in the back of the Facebook Live video. On Facebook, Lavish Reynolds wrote, “My name is lavish better known as diamond the mother of one beautiful girl Daeanna faith my pride & joy im a hard working single mother…” Kare 11 News reported that as the video ended, Reynolds’ daughter, who was in the car, could be heard saying, “It’s OK, mommy.” The New York Times said the little girl also said, “It’s O.K., Mommy. It’s O.K. I’m right here with you.”
“I told him to get his hand out; I told him not to reach for it,” says the officer at one point as Reynolds adds, “Oh my God, don’t tell me he’s dead, please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.”
“I told him to get his hand off!” The officer says at one point. He tells Reynolds to keep her hands where they are.
Castile is heard moaning in the video, and his T-shirt is covered with blood.
Read more about Philando Castile and Lavish Reynolds in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com:
3. She Was Detained in the Shooting Incident & Says She Was Treated Like a Criminal
In the Facebook Live video, Reynolds can be heard praying to God to spare her boyfriend. She says that Castile is “licensed to carry” and was “trying to get out his ID” and “he let the officer know he had a firearm, and he was reaching for his wallet, and the officer just shot him. … He just shot his arm off.”
“Please, officer, don’t tell me he’s gone; please don’t tell me that you did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir,” Reynolds implores, during the live, active situation.
“Get the female passenger out,” an officer shouts. Officers then arrest Reynolds and tell her she is being detained while “this is all sorted out.” She was later released, NBC News reported.
WCCO has the full transcript.
On Thursday morning, Reynolds said she felt like police “treated me like a criminal … like it was my fault” and added that officers didn’t check Castile for a pulse but instead comforted the officer who fired the shots because he was crying, the Star-Tribune says.
In the video, Reynolds says police stopped the car because of a broken taillight they didn’t really have, a contention the Minnesota governor repeated. However, KARE 11, a TV station in Minneapolis, has now obtained what may be dispatch audio showing a stop for another reason – the officer believing Castile looked like an armed robbery suspect because of his “wide set nose.”
There was a July 2 gas station robbery in the area, reported by St. Anthony police, KARE 11 noted, adding that the officer’s lawyer confirmed that was the robbery in question. The TV station says it received the audio from a viewer and hasn’t been able to verify it with police but that the officer’s lawyer has now verified details in it; Heavy has reached out to a police spokesperson for more information on the dispatch audio. Listen to that audio here. What may be the officer says on the audio:
“I’m going to stop a car. I’m going to check IDs. I have reason to pull it over.”
“The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery,” the man in the audio adds. “The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide set nose.” However, Castile had only a minor criminal history in Minnesota with nothing approaching the seriousness of armed robbery. “They had a reasonable suspicion he may match the description of the suspect in the earlier robbery,” the officer’s lawyer, Tom Kelly, said to KARE 11.
The attorney for the officer, Geronimo Yanez, tells KARE 11 that Yanez was reacting to “the presence of that gun and the display of that gun” when he opened fire on Philando Castile. On the video, Reynolds said Castile had a gun permit; The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says it has confirmed through a source that he obtained one in Hennepin County (some blogs have used a Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department tweet that Castile didn’t apply for a permit through Ramsey County as evidence he didn’t have one; however, The Star-Tribune says he got it in another county, when he lived in Robbinsdale, MN).
She told NBC News that Castile “didn’t have any last words. His eyes rolled into the back of his head and he was gone instantly.”
4. Philando Castile Worked in a School Cafeteria & Snuck Kids Extra Food
CBS Minnesota reported that Castile’s mother confirmed he had died and said he was a cafeteria supervisor at St. Paul’s J.J. Hill Montessori School. Reynolds identifies Castile as her boyfriend in the Facebook Live video.
A parent at the school posted on Facebook “this was a GOOD MAN” and said he hugged a borderline autistic child and gave children extra Graham crackers. A review of Minnesota’s criminal records database shows only minor offenses, mostly traffic; in the video, Reynolds says he had a concealed carry permit.
5. Social Media Blew Up Over the Shooting & Protests Erupted
On Thursday, Reynolds gave a powerful public speech on the shooting as the Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he wanted a U.S. Justice Department investigation, NBC News said.
In addition to Reynolds’ video, which was shared hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook, another citizen captured a more distant video of the scene:
It wasn’t long before protests erupted at the scene, as family gathered with a pastor and the local NAACP president at the hospital where Castile died.