Thursday, July 7, 2016

Beyond Bad News at the Falcon Arms

Last night, a 32-year-old African American man named Philando Castile was shot to death by a Minnesota cop during a routine traffic stop. You may have already heard the details, which I won't recount. Suffice it to say his killing and the details of his life will rightly provoke outrage: he had worked at a school since he was 19, was beloved by the students, and had no criminal record (except lots of Driving While Black citations). Just driving along a street with his girlfriend and her daughter on a typical evening, but now he's dead.

By coincidence, the killing took place across the street from the Falcon Arms apartments, which I have written about before. Today, late in the afternoon, there were a few dozen people at the site of his killing and across the street:

Last night, a few hours after the shooting, it looked like this:

The white car is Castile's. The person standing beside it is from our state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which was immediately brought in to investigate.

All of this is in a tiny suburb called Falcon Heights, along a stretch of four-lane suburban street/road (or stroad) that's owned by Ramsey County and patrolled by both county sheriffs and cops from another nearby suburb called St. Anthony, which is the outsourced police department of Falcon Heights. It skirts the north edge of the Minnesota State Fair and the University of Minnesota's agricultural campus.

The reason for the traffic stop? Castile's tail light was supposedly not working, but when I was there at midnight, all four of the car's lights were lit.

Today there was an all-day gathering and rally outside the governor's mansion in St. Paul. Some photos from that:

Speakers I heard at the rally included Chris Lollie, who was tased for no reason in St. Paul's skyways two years ago, and Ericka Cullars-Golden, the mother of Marcus Golden, a young black St. Paul man who was killed by city police in 2015 in the midst of a mental health crisis.

Later I stopped by the crime scene again and found these signs among the flowers, candles, and other offerings:

There was one other sign at the crime scene that was taken down by the time I got there. It read, "Blue Lies Matter."

I hear our governor spoke a few hours ago and acknowledged the obvious, that if Castile had been white, he wouldn't be dead. At least we have a politician in office who can say that.

1 comment:

Carl said...

Thank you for showing up.