Philando Castile.  Another police shooting death, another police murder.  How do we turn this around?  Why do police officers have their hands on their guns, and not tasers?  Was nothing learned from Jamar Clark’s shooting?  It goes beyond a matter of prosecuting the shooters, it goes beyond training, it goes to the fear, profiling, and systemic racism that triggers these shootings by police.  Again, how do we turn that around?

What to do, what can be done… and it seems to me here’s a start: It’s time for systemic change to address the race/class/religious profiling and fear, for police protocol putting tasers as the first option (not guns), training all police officers on the use of deescalation techniques, raising the legal threshold for justifiable use of force, and a serious look at police psych testing and reevaluation of criteria for hiring.  After the fact, we need an independent investigation, truth, and restorative justice process.  Attend vigils and demonstrations, particularly us white folks.  We can push in all venues, and action sure helps the existential angst!

Minnesota House Members

Minnesota Senate Members

Federal — Members of House and Senate

A vigil for Castile being planned for 5:30 p.m. today at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School, where he worked and was well-respected. He was a cafeteria supervisor there and had worked St. Paul Public Schools since 2002.

Diamond (used Lavish fb account) Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, recorded this right after the shooting last night and posted it to facebook — facebook disappeared it for a while, but it’s back, and even the STrib has posted it, that probably won’t disappear.

Video recorded by Diamond Reynolds, via STrib.

The whole world is watching… It’s gone national, the police murder of Philando Castile, pulled over for a tail light out, and shot while sitting in his car while following directive of police to produce his license and reaching for his wallet.

From the New York Times:

Philando Castile Shooting in Minnesota Leads Governor to Seek U.S. …

And NPR:

‘I’m Outraged’: Mother Of Philando Castile, Slain By Police, Speaks Out …

Who was Philando Castile? From the St. Paul School District:

“Saint Paul Public Schools and its staff grieve the tragic death of a former student and current employee, Philando Castile.

He graduated from Central High School in 2001 and had worked for Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) since he was 19 years old, beginning in 2002, in the Nutrition Services Department.

Mr. Castile was promoted to a supervisory position two years ago and was currently working in one of our schools during the summer term.

Colleagues describe him as a team player who maintained great relationships with staff and students alike. He had a cheerful disposition and his colleagues enjoyed working with him. He was quick to greet former coworkers with a smile and hug.

One coworker said, “Kids loved him. He was smart, over-qualified. He was quiet, respectful, and kind. I knew him as warm and funny; he called me his ‘wing man.’ He wore a shirt and tie to his supervisor interview and said his goal was to one day ‘sit on the other side of this table.’”

Those who worked with him daily said he will be greatly missed.”

And thanks to the STrib for posting a transcript of Diamond Reynolds’ video:

Lavish Reynolds: Stay with me. We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back and the police he’s he’s he’s covered [inaudible]  they killed my boyfriend. He’s licensed he’s carried so he’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket and he let the officer know that he was that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm.

Officer: Ma’am, keep your hands where they are.

Reynolds: I will sir, no worries, I will.

Officer: [Yells expletive.]

Reynolds: He just got his arm shot off. We got pulled over on Larpenteur.

Officer: I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his head up.

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.

Officer: [Expletive.]

Reynolds: Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.

Officer: Keep your hands where they are please.

Reynolds: Yes I will, sir. I will 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.


Officer: Get the female passenger out.

Other officer: Ma’am exit the car right now with your hands up. Let me see your hands. Exit now. Keep ‘em up, keep ‘em up.

Reynolds: Where’s my daughter? You got my daughter?”

Other officer: Face away from me and walk backwards. Walk backwards towards me. Keep walking. Keep walking. Keep walking. Get on your knees. Get on your knees. Ma’am you’re just being detained right now until we get this all sorted out OK?

Reynolds: They threw my phone Facebook. Please don’t tell me Lord Jesus please don’t tell me [inaudible].

Officer: Let me see your purse. You have any weapons or anything?

Reynolds: No. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend is gone. You can take it off my hand. Please don’t tell me he’s gone. Please Jesus no. Please no. Please no don’t let him be gone Lord.

Officer: [Expletive]

Officer: [Expletive]

Reynolds: He told him to get his license and registration. He told him he was licensed to carry and that he had his gun on him and then he started shooting. He started shooting for no reason.

Officer: [Expletive]

Officer: [Expletive]

Officer: [Expletive]

Officer: [Expletive]

Officer: [Expletive]

Reynolds: His wallet and license and registration you told him to get it, sir. You told him and he tried to tell you he had a license to carry and was gonna take it off. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend’s gone. He don’t deserve this. Please. He’s a good man he works for St. Paul Public school. He doesn’t have no record of anything. He’s never been in jail anything. He’s not a gang member anything.

Reynolds: [inaudible] and that you cover him Lord. That you allow him to still be here with us Lord. Still with me [inaudible] Lord. Please Lord wrap your arms around him. Please Lord make sure that he’s OK, breathing Lord. [inaudible] Please Lord you know our rights Lord you know we are innocent people Lord. We are innocent people. We are innocent. My four-year-old [inaudible]

Reynolds: Could you please get my phone for me?

Other officer: I’ll talk to my supervisor.

Reynolds: It’s right there it’s on the floor. It’s right there.

Other officer: Could you just stand here sweetie?

Child: I want to get my mommy’s purse.

Other officer: I’ll take care of that OK? Just stand right here for me.

Reynolds: Stay right here. Before you take the handcuffs off of me can you [inaudible]

Other officer: Can you search her before [inaudible]? I can’t it’s got to be processed OK?

Reynolds: Come here (to child).

Other officer: Is that your phone?

Reynolds: We’re in the back seat of the police car. [inaudible] call me the police just shot my boyfriend for no apparent reason. My phone is about to die. They shot him. He shot him three times because we had a busted tail light. He asked him for license and registration he told him that it was in his wallet but he had a pistol on him because he’s licensed to carry and the officer told him don’t move and as he was putting his hands back up the officer shot him in his arm about four or five times. I’m on Larpenteur and Fry. Whoever can come to Larpenteur and Fry that’s where I’m at. I’m gonna need a ride home. We’re on Larpenteur and Fry. [inaudible] if you can come to Larpenteur and Fry we’re right here in Roseville. Got the Roseville Police they got me handcuffed, my phone is about to die. I’m on Larpenteur and Fry and the Roseville Police Department just shot my boyfriend. They shot him four times. He’s licensed to carry. We had a busted tail light. And we had some weed in the car that’s about it.

It was a Chinese police officer that shot him. He’s Chinese he’s about 5.5, 5.6-1/2, heavy set guy. He asked him for his license and registration which was in the back of his pocket because he keeps his wallet in his pocket. And as he went to reach he let the officer know before he was reaching that he had a firearm on him and before he can let the officer know anything the officer took off shots. About 4 or 5 rounds were shot and my boyfriend I don’t know what condition he’s in. I don’t know if he’s OK or if he’s not OK. I’m in the back seat of the police car, in the back seat of the police car handcuffed. I need a ride. I’m on Larpenteur and Fry they’ve got machine guns pointed.

Reynolds: Don’t be scared. My daughter just witnessed this. The police just shot him for no apparent reason. No reason at all. They asked for license and registration. That’s the police officer over there that did it with the black on. I can’t really do shit because they have me handcuffed.

Child: It’s OK mommy.

Reynolds: I can’t believe they just did this I’m [expletive] [screams].

Child: It’s OK, I’m right here with you.


Reynolds: Y’all please pray for us Jesus please y’all. I ask everybody on Facebook everybody that’s watching everybody that’s tuned in please pray for us. Sister I know I just dropped you off but I need you to pick me up I need [inaudible] to call my phone.



This is about Jamar Clark.  It is also about such basic rights, right to life, and Constitutional rights. It’s also about our obligation and responsibility to stand up when there is no justice.  As an attorney sworn to uphold the Constitution, it’s important to loudly object.  I’m not a criminal attorney, and I’ve had very little experience in criminal law, long ago, but this case stinks of _________ (corruption?  fear?  obligation?  indebtedness?).

Hot off the press:

NAACP calls for new probe into Jamar Clark shooting

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman decided, against evidence, that he would not charge officers involved in the killing of Jamar Clark with any crime.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, reconsider!

The federal review of this case is not complete, and there may be federal charges.  But that potential does not relieve Freeman of his responsibility as prosecutor.  If he’s not up for the job, he should appoint a special prosecutor for this case, and to review every case of a killing by a police officer.

Freeman was praised for his decision not to refer this case to a Grand Jury, which notoriously fail to charge police officers, this case and all such cases going forward.  But in this case, could it have been more of an issue that given the evidence different than his recitation, the very different story than the one he told, that a Grand Jury may have charged the officers?!?!  We’ll never know.

Evidence that conflicts with his recitation?  Here’s what was released and posted as evidence (but it’s NOT all inclusive):

Hennepin County’s page on County Attorney Decision and Evidence

A number of issues come up that individually or combined call Freeman’s decision of NO charges whatsoever into question.

This STrib headline and article reveals both Freeman’s defensiveness and one reason his decision makes no sense:

Freeman gives emphatic defense of decision not to charge officers, questions why officers didn’t have tasers

The police have training, experience, and equipment to handle people, and yet in this case, they didn’t even have tasers?  They threw him down in an admittedly “not favored” move?  And then one officer shot him point blank in the head, his weapon not firing the first time…

Freeman wondered why the officers did not have Tasers they possibly could have used instead of a firearm to de-escalate the conflict with Clark

All along, Clark has been presented as a domestic abuser (as if that provides justification for officers to kill him?), yet the report of the “victim” reveals she is not a “victim” of domestic assault and has come out publicly now stating this in televised interviews.  It looks as though her statement to the police has been suppressed.

Rayann Hayes Police Interview

City Pages: I wasn’t Jamar Clark’s girlfriend, and he didn’t break my ankle

Exclusive: Alleged Jamar Clark Victim Speaks Out

At issue also is Jamar Clark’s behavior, where initially it was said that he was interfering with treatment of Hayes.  That’s not how Freeman reported it at the press conference, where he said more than once that Clark was “tapping” on the ambulance doors.  Hayes’ statement reports conversation going on in the ambulance where those treating her were pushing the “domestic assault” version, which she states at the time she denied and corrected.

A claim by the police shooter that he was afraid doesn’t seem credible in the situation as facts unfold.

This does not add up, and it does not add up to “no charges.”  Freeman should take this up again in light of the exposed conflicts between evidence he relied on, and other evidence that was not posted on the County Attorney website above.

Why is Jamar Clark’s 2015 “Fleeing Case” information posted on that site?  That’s an inflammatory choice on Freeman’s part.  There is no legitimate reason to post it, it is not relevant to this decision.  The “Fleeing Case” can only be being brought in to bolster public opinion of Freeman’s support of the officers’ behavior — if he has a record, then he deserves to be shot.  NO, not acceptable.  And by the way, “fleeing” is not an aggressive act.  Hennepin County, remove that 2015 “Fleeing Case” information from the page.

Why aren’t the prior Complaints against the two officers, Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg, also posted?

What will the civil suit look like on this?  I’d guess the result would be very different, and unfortunately, it looks like it will take a civil suit to get some justice for Jamar.


Attorney Jordan Kushner had some thoughts he put out on the Mpls. yak-yak list that I’m attaching below.  This is his area of law, he is an attorney fiercely dedicated to protecting our civil rights (and now is faced, perversely, with charges himself after being arrested at the U of M for filming the police).  I met Kushner decades ago when a number of us were defending the Crandon 29, where 29 protestors of the proposed mine in Crandon, Wisconsin, were arrested (my two clients were arrested for “blocking the highway” despite the video of the protest which showed clearly that my clients were on the sidewalk or next to the curb in the street, and there were police cars blocking the highway!!) and the trial was a circus, literally “three rings” with defendants from three locations and fact situations all in court at once.  Kushner was one of the defense attorneys for the RNC 8, and he was designated “The pro for the protesters” by the STrib.

Here’s what Kushner had to say about the Jamar Clark case and Freeman’s non-decision, most importantly about the role of a prosecutor, which Freeman did not fulfill:

I have not yet had a chance to carefully review the materials on the police killing of Jamar Clark to be able to pretend to render an informed opinion about whether the police should be prosecuted. I can say with certainty that Mike Freeman’s presentation of the evidence makes it clear that justice has NOT been done. Freeman did not play the role of a public prosecutor. He acted as a defense attorney for the two police officers, and a PR advocate for the police position in general. The normal role of a prosecutor would be to first consider the evidence supporting the victim, then examine the evidence supporting the suspects, and then consider whether all of the available evidence justified bringing charges. Freeman set forth all of the evidence that he had in favor of the police, assumed it to be true, and ignored or dismissed arguments – including many obvious ones, that challenged the police accounts. He also summarily dismissed all of the eyewitness accounts that disputed the police story on the grounds they were “contradictory.” It is common for eyewitness accounts to be contradictory to some degree, but that rarely stops prosecutions from going forward. In a typical case, a prosecutor would begin by considering eyewitness accounts supporting prosecution and looking for ways they could be corroborated. There is no indication that Freeman made any attempt to support they eyewitness accounts. Definitely, Freeman’s office regularly pursues prosecutions with eyewitness accounts that are as or more contradictory, and in weaker cases. But here Freeman did not play his typical role as prosecutor but assumed the role as advocate for the police.

Freeman does deserve some credit for taking direct responsibility and accountability for the decision not to prosecute, and abandoning the time honored practice of hiding behind a grand
jury. (I posted commentary on the grand jury sham on this list a few years ago after the last high profile Minneapolis police killing of an unarmed young African American man –…/topic/13KH7mtNjlyCwAkoUpqHiY ) Thanks to Freeman’s willingness to own and explain his decision, the public can be informed about where the County Attorney really stands. We learn clearly how it is inevitable that a prosecutor who works with police on a daily basis and is politically accountable to police interests probably more than any other group, will not seriously act as a prosecutor when it comes to reviewing possibly criminal actions of police officers. This leads to the next necessary demand that such cases not be reviewed and prosecuted by regular prosecutors, and particularly political and police hacks. Police killings need to be reviewed and pursued by independent “special” prosecutors who do not normally work with police or are politically tied to police interests. A special prosecutor needs to be appointed to review Jamar Clark’s case and future police killings.