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"Philando Can Be Any of Us": Black Lives Matter Protests Acquittal of Officer in Minnesota Killing

Monday, June 19, 2017 By Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now! | Video Interview
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Content warning: The above video contains graphic imagery.

In Minnesota, protesters took to the streets Sunday for a third straight day after a St. Anthony police officer was acquitted Friday in the killing of a black motorist he shot five times during a traffic stop last year. Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted on charges of manslaughter for killing Philando Castile, an African American who worked as a school nutrition services supervisor for the Saint Paul Public Schools. The shooting made international headlines after Castile's girlfriend documented the aftermath of the shooting by broadcasting live on Facebook from the car moments after Castile was shot. In the video, Officer Yanez is seen pointing a gun at her and her 4-year-old daughter. About 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside Minnesota's state Capitol in St. Paul on Friday evening, and a series of speakers demanded justice for people of color in the judicial system and police accountability. Several protesters blocked a main interstate between St. Paul and Minneapolis Friday night, resulting in 18 arrests. Peaceful demonstrations continued throughout the weekend. Protesters also gathered in New York on Saturday. Democracy Now!'s Sam Alcoff filed this report.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In Minnesota, protesters took to the streets Sunday for a third straight day, after a St. Anthony police officer was acquitted Friday in the killing of a black motorist he shot five times during a traffic stop last year. Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted on charges of manslaughter for killing Philando Castile, an African American who worked as a school nutrition services supervisor for the Saint Paul Public Schools. The shooting made international headlines after Castile's girlfriend documented the aftermath of the shooting by broadcasting live on Facebook from the car moments after Castile was shot. In the video, Officer Yanez is seen pointing a gun at her and her 4-year-old daughter.

DIAMOND REYNOLDS: He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket, and he let the officer know that he was -- he had a firearm, and he was reaching for his wallet. And the officer just shot him in his arm. We're waiting for a --

JERONIMO YANEZ: Ma'am, just keep your hands on the wheel!

DIAMOND REYNOLDS: I will, sir. No worries. I will. He just shot his arm off. We got pulled over on Larpenter.

JERONIMO YANEZ: I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand off it!

DIAMOND REYNOLDS: He had -- you told him to get his ID, sir, his driver's license. Oh, my god, please don't tell me he's dead. Please don't tell me my boyfriend just went like that.

JERONIMO YANEZ: Keep your hands where they are, please.

DIAMOND REYNOLDS: Yes, I will, sir. I'll keep my hands where they are. Please, don't tell me this, lord. Please, Jesus, don't tell me that he's gone. Please, don't tell me that he's gone. Please, officer, don't tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Diamond Reynolds narrating the aftermath of the police shooting of her boyfriend, Philando Castile. Prosecutors opened the trial by playing a police dash cam video of Castile's killing, which shows Officer Yanez opening fire on Castile seven times as he sat in the car. A medical expert testified Castile was struck with five of the rounds, including two which pierced his heart. The jury of seven men, five women, 10 of whom were white, two African-American, deliberated for more than 25 hours over five days before acquitting Officer Yanez on all charges. Philando Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, spoke after the verdict.

VALERIE CASTILE: My son would never jeopardize anyone else's life by trying to pull a gun on an officer. And the gun was not fire-ready. These are some of the facts that came out in the trial. And I am so very, very, very, very, very, very, very disappointed in the system here in the state of Minnesota, because nowhere in the world do you die from being honest and telling the truth. The system continues to fail black people. And it will continue to fail you all. Like I said, because this happened with Philando, when they get done with us, they're coming for you, for you, for you and all your interracial children. Y'all are next.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: About 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside Minnesota's state Capitol in St. Paul on Friday evening, and a series of speakers demanded justice for people of color in the judicial system and police accountability. Several protesters blocked a main interstate between St. Paul and Minneapolis Friday night, resulting in 18 arrests. Peaceful demonstrations continued throughout the weekend.

AMY GOODMAN: Protesters also gathered in New York Saturday. Democracy Now!'s Sam Alcoff filed this report.

MAL MERO: Why do you bring harm to a world y'all is blessed in? Why must we pay for your stressin'? How many more arraignments without a confession? Why take away the ones we put our blood and our flesh in? How often do you miss misusing your weapon? How many wakes have our families wept in? How many heels have our black mother stepped in to stand over caskets their babies slept in? What if those bullets were intercepted? What if their children were the ones to catch it? Would you fight back or respect it?

HAWK NEWSOME: I'm Hawk Newsome, president of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. Philando Castile was driving in his car. An officer pulled him over and shot him in front of his wife and his daughter, OK? He informed the officer that he had a pistol and a permit to carry that pistol. However, the officer still shot him. The officer said, "He reached for his gun. I told him not to reach." His wife replied -- his wife said, "You told him to get his ID." And they killed that man and let him bleed out in front of his family. Luckily, his wife had the presence of mind to go on Facebook Live to record this injustice. So, now, you had outrage last summer, and now you had the trial. The trial was mishandled by the prosecutor. They would like to call this a mistake. But there is no mistake about it when, time after time again, you fail to prosecute cops that kill innocent black people. There's no mistake about it.

KENNETH SHELTON JR.: So I want you to say it with me: Black Lives Matter.

PROTESTERS: Black Lives Matter!

KENNETH SHELTON JR.: I'm Kenneth Shelton. I'm a member of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. The resistance is being coopted for black people. Right? Too many times, we have all these resistance groups about resisting Republicans, but not talking about resisting Democrats. Democrats have put on racist policies. Minnesota is a Democratic state. All these Democratic cities -- Chicago, even New York -- don't value black and brown people. And that's when you get these injustices that take place. So it's important for us, in a liberal area such as New York City, to make a stand, to say, "Hey, we're going to come out here and march in solidarity with what happened in Minnesota, but then, also, we're going to continue to fight and be a shining example for what we should do for black people and brown people here in the city.

HELEN HINES: My name is Helen Hines. I'm running for City Council in the Bronx in District 17. When the young man was being taken right out, that can be any of us. I want you to know, we don't vote enough. We don't read another. We don't listen enough. And we are giving away our votes.

PROTESTERS: Back up! We don't need 'em, need 'em! All these racist ass cops, we don't need 'em, need 'em!

KENNETH SHELTON JR.: We're taking the streets. The police don't want us on the street. They want us on the sidewalk. But these are our streets, especially in Harlem. When police violence occurs each and every day, it's important for us to take to the streets and show solidarity. That's what they did in Minnesota. That's what we're going to do right here. Right now, we're on 116th, about to be 115th Street. This is Harlem, Harlem, about to enter into the mainstream city. The scene is, this is just -- the Juneteenth parade was right there. All these black people are looking and showing that we're standing in solidarity. This is not just black people. There's white people. There's brown people. showing that on one of the most important days to descendants of slaves, which is Juneteenth, that we're out here marching for Black Lives Matter.

POLICE OFFICER: You are ordered to leave the roadway and utilize the available sidewalk. If you remain in the roadway and refuse to utilize the sidewalk, you will be placed under arrest and charged with disorderly conduct.

MAL MERO: Show this world that they cannot dismiss us. America needs to see this mistrust. The system is broken, but yet they're trying to fix us. When I say "black lives," y'all say "matter." Black lives!

PROTESTERS: Matter!

MAL MERO: Black lives!

PROTESTERS: Matter!

MAL MERO: Black lives!

PROTESTERS: Matter!

MAL MERO: Black lives!

PROTESTERS: Matter!

AMY GOODMAN: Voices from the streets of New York on Saturday. There were protests around the country, after the acquittal of Officer Jeronimo Yanez for killing Philando Castile. Special thanks to Sam Alcoff and Jesse Rubin. When we come back, we'll go to Minneapolis to speak with Nekima Levy-Pounds, former president of the Minneapolis NAACP. This is Democracy Now! Stay with us.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Juan González

Juan González co-hosts Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. González has been a professional journalist for more than 30 years and a staff columnist at the New York Daily News since 1987. He is a two-time recipient of the George Polk Award.

Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on more than 1,100 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its "Pick of the Podcasts," along with NBC's "Meet the Press."


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"Philando Can Be Any of Us": Black Lives Matter Protests Acquittal of Officer in Minnesota Killing

Monday, June 19, 2017 By Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now! | Video Interview
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Media

Content warning: The above video contains graphic imagery.

In Minnesota, protesters took to the streets Sunday for a third straight day after a St. Anthony police officer was acquitted Friday in the killing of a black motorist he shot five times during a traffic stop last year. Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted on charges of manslaughter for killing Philando Castile, an African American who worked as a school nutrition services supervisor for the Saint Paul Public Schools. The shooting made international headlines after Castile's girlfriend documented the aftermath of the shooting by broadcasting live on Facebook from the car moments after Castile was shot. In the video, Officer Yanez is seen pointing a gun at her and her 4-year-old daughter. About 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside Minnesota's state Capitol in St. Paul on Friday evening, and a series of speakers demanded justice for people of color in the judicial system and police accountability. Several protesters blocked a main interstate between St. Paul and Minneapolis Friday night, resulting in 18 arrests. Peaceful demonstrations continued throughout the weekend. Protesters also gathered in New York on Saturday. Democracy Now!'s Sam Alcoff filed this report.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In Minnesota, protesters took to the streets Sunday for a third straight day, after a St. Anthony police officer was acquitted Friday in the killing of a black motorist he shot five times during a traffic stop last year. Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted on charges of manslaughter for killing Philando Castile, an African American who worked as a school nutrition services supervisor for the Saint Paul Public Schools. The shooting made international headlines after Castile's girlfriend documented the aftermath of the shooting by broadcasting live on Facebook from the car moments after Castile was shot. In the video, Officer Yanez is seen pointing a gun at her and her 4-year-old daughter.

DIAMOND REYNOLDS: He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket, and he let the officer know that he was -- he had a firearm, and he was reaching for his wallet. And the officer just shot him in his arm. We're waiting for a --

JERONIMO YANEZ: Ma'am, just keep your hands on the wheel!

DIAMOND REYNOLDS: I will, sir. No worries. I will. He just shot his arm off. We got pulled over on Larpenter.

JERONIMO YANEZ: I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand off it!

DIAMOND REYNOLDS: He had -- you told him to get his ID, sir, his driver's license. Oh, my god, please don't tell me he's dead. Please don't tell me my boyfriend just went like that.

JERONIMO YANEZ: Keep your hands where they are, please.

DIAMOND REYNOLDS: Yes, I will, sir. I'll keep my hands where they are. Please, don't tell me this, lord. Please, Jesus, don't tell me that he's gone. Please, don't tell me that he's gone. Please, officer, don't tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Diamond Reynolds narrating the aftermath of the police shooting of her boyfriend, Philando Castile. Prosecutors opened the trial by playing a police dash cam video of Castile's killing, which shows Officer Yanez opening fire on Castile seven times as he sat in the car. A medical expert testified Castile was struck with five of the rounds, including two which pierced his heart. The jury of seven men, five women, 10 of whom were white, two African-American, deliberated for more than 25 hours over five days before acquitting Officer Yanez on all charges. Philando Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, spoke after the verdict.

VALERIE CASTILE: My son would never jeopardize anyone else's life by trying to pull a gun on an officer. And the gun was not fire-ready. These are some of the facts that came out in the trial. And I am so very, very, very, very, very, very, very disappointed in the system here in the state of Minnesota, because nowhere in the world do you die from being honest and telling the truth. The system continues to fail black people. And it will continue to fail you all. Like I said, because this happened with Philando, when they get done with us, they're coming for you, for you, for you and all your interracial children. Y'all are next.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: About 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside Minnesota's state Capitol in St. Paul on Friday evening, and a series of speakers demanded justice for people of color in the judicial system and police accountability. Several protesters blocked a main interstate between St. Paul and Minneapolis Friday night, resulting in 18 arrests. Peaceful demonstrations continued throughout the weekend.

AMY GOODMAN: Protesters also gathered in New York Saturday. Democracy Now!'s Sam Alcoff filed this report.

MAL MERO: Why do you bring harm to a world y'all is blessed in? Why must we pay for your stressin'? How many more arraignments without a confession? Why take away the ones we put our blood and our flesh in? How often do you miss misusing your weapon? How many wakes have our families wept in? How many heels have our black mother stepped in to stand over caskets their babies slept in? What if those bullets were intercepted? What if their children were the ones to catch it? Would you fight back or respect it?

HAWK NEWSOME: I'm Hawk Newsome, president of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. Philando Castile was driving in his car. An officer pulled him over and shot him in front of his wife and his daughter, OK? He informed the officer that he had a pistol and a permit to carry that pistol. However, the officer still shot him. The officer said, "He reached for his gun. I told him not to reach." His wife replied -- his wife said, "You told him to get his ID." And they killed that man and let him bleed out in front of his family. Luckily, his wife had the presence of mind to go on Facebook Live to record this injustice. So, now, you had outrage last summer, and now you had the trial. The trial was mishandled by the prosecutor. They would like to call this a mistake. But there is no mistake about it when, time after time again, you fail to prosecute cops that kill innocent black people. There's no mistake about it.

KENNETH SHELTON JR.: So I want you to say it with me: Black Lives Matter.

PROTESTERS: Black Lives Matter!

KENNETH SHELTON JR.: I'm Kenneth Shelton. I'm a member of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. The resistance is being coopted for black people. Right? Too many times, we have all these resistance groups about resisting Republicans, but not talking about resisting Democrats. Democrats have put on racist policies. Minnesota is a Democratic state. All these Democratic cities -- Chicago, even New York -- don't value black and brown people. And that's when you get these injustices that take place. So it's important for us, in a liberal area such as New York City, to make a stand, to say, "Hey, we're going to come out here and march in solidarity with what happened in Minnesota, but then, also, we're going to continue to fight and be a shining example for what we should do for black people and brown people here in the city.

HELEN HINES: My name is Helen Hines. I'm running for City Council in the Bronx in District 17. When the young man was being taken right out, that can be any of us. I want you to know, we don't vote enough. We don't read another. We don't listen enough. And we are giving away our votes.

PROTESTERS: Back up! We don't need 'em, need 'em! All these racist ass cops, we don't need 'em, need 'em!

KENNETH SHELTON JR.: We're taking the streets. The police don't want us on the street. They want us on the sidewalk. But these are our streets, especially in Harlem. When police violence occurs each and every day, it's important for us to take to the streets and show solidarity. That's what they did in Minnesota. That's what we're going to do right here. Right now, we're on 116th, about to be 115th Street. This is Harlem, Harlem, about to enter into the mainstream city. The scene is, this is just -- the Juneteenth parade was right there. All these black people are looking and showing that we're standing in solidarity. This is not just black people. There's white people. There's brown people. showing that on one of the most important days to descendants of slaves, which is Juneteenth, that we're out here marching for Black Lives Matter.

POLICE OFFICER: You are ordered to leave the roadway and utilize the available sidewalk. If you remain in the roadway and refuse to utilize the sidewalk, you will be placed under arrest and charged with disorderly conduct.

MAL MERO: Show this world that they cannot dismiss us. America needs to see this mistrust. The system is broken, but yet they're trying to fix us. When I say "black lives," y'all say "matter." Black lives!

PROTESTERS: Matter!

MAL MERO: Black lives!

PROTESTERS: Matter!

MAL MERO: Black lives!

PROTESTERS: Matter!

MAL MERO: Black lives!

PROTESTERS: Matter!

AMY GOODMAN: Voices from the streets of New York on Saturday. There were protests around the country, after the acquittal of Officer Jeronimo Yanez for killing Philando Castile. Special thanks to Sam Alcoff and Jesse Rubin. When we come back, we'll go to Minneapolis to speak with Nekima Levy-Pounds, former president of the Minneapolis NAACP. This is Democracy Now! Stay with us.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Juan González

Juan González co-hosts Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. González has been a professional journalist for more than 30 years and a staff columnist at the New York Daily News since 1987. He is a two-time recipient of the George Polk Award.

Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on more than 1,100 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its "Pick of the Podcasts," along with NBC's "Meet the Press."


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