Footage broadcast live on Facebook that appeared to show the aftermath of a fatal police shooting in the United States has been viewed more than a million times, as outrage soared over the second police killing of a black man captured on video in as many days.
The video, livestreamed by Facebook user Lavish Reynolds on her mobile phone, was posted to her profile page at around 9pm local time (02:00GMT).
It shows Reynolds recounting the incident as her boyfriend – named by family as Philando Castile – is seen bleeding heavily through a white T-shirt, slumped back in his seat with a wound visible on his arm.
Reynolds: Stay with me. We got pulled over for a busted tail-light in the back and the police just – he’s covered – he killed my boyfriend. He’s licensed, he’s carried to, 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, 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 back.
Officer: Keep your hands where they are.
Reynolds: I will, sir. No worries. I will.
Reynolds: He just shot his arm off. We got pulled over on Larpenter.
Officer: I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hands open.
Reynolds: You told him to get his ID, sir, his driver’s licence. Oh my God, please don’t tell me he’s dead.
Officer: Oh f***.
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 licence, his registration, sir.
Officer: Get the female passenger out!
Second officer: Get out the car right now with your hands up. Let me see your hands! Exit now – keep them up, keep them up!
Reynolds: Where’s my daughter, you got my daughter?
Second officer: Face away from me and walk backwards. Walk backwards towards me. Keep walking, keep walking, keep walking, keep walking. Get on your knees. Get on your knees.
[Reynolds’ daughter can be heard crying. Handcuffs are heard being fastened]
Reynolds: Why am I being arrested?
Second officer: 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.
Second officer: We’re going to get your purse, here… [inaudible]
Reynolds: Please don’t tell me my boyfriend is gone. Take it out my hand. Please don’t tell me he’s gone. Please, Jesus, no. Please no! Please no. Don’t let him be gone, Lord!
Reynolds: You started shooting for no reason.
Officer: F***! F***!
Reynolds: His wallet, his licence and registration, you told him to get it, sir … Please don’t tell me my boyfriend’s gone. He don’t deserve this, please. He’s a good man. He works for … public school. He doesn’t have no record or anything, he’s never been in jail or anything. He’s not a gang member or anything.
Reynolds can then be heard saying a prayer for her boyfriend’s life.
Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the video, which contains scenes some readers may find distressing .
Police in the state of Minnesota have confirmed that an officer has been placed on administrative leave after shooting dead a black motorist.
Reynolds is calm at the start of the nine-minute clip as she sits in the passenger seat of a car, while a police officer points a gun at her boyfriend, who is in the driver’s seat.
She says in the video that a police officer pulled the car over because it had a “busted tail-light”.
Her boyfriend, she says, told the officer that he had a gun he was licensed to carry.
“He [the police officer] killed my boyfriend,” Reynolds says. “He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out of his pocket … the officer shot him in the arm.”
The police officer can be heard saying “Oh f***!” and “I told him not to reach for it”.
Later in the clip, as Reynolds is ordered by another officer to leave the car, she can be heard crying and praying that her boyfriend is not dead. Her daughter can also be heard in the background.
She continues filming after being detained. In the police car, she continues to say that her boyfriend was shot several times, as he responded to a request by an officer to present his identification papers and driving license.
Within five hours of the video being posted, it had been watched on Facebook about 1.5 million times, and been shared by more than 200,000 people.
The video spread online quickly, with many expressing outrage that the killing came a day after Alton Sterling, a black man in Louisiana, was killed by white police. Sterling’s case, which also sparked protests, is being investigated by the United States Justice Department.
A hashtag bearing the man’s name became the top worldwide trending topic on Twitter.
A crowd of protesters gathered at the scene where Castile was shot, in suburban St Paul.
Local media reported that dozens of people congregated early Thursday morning in Falcon Heights.
KARE-TV reported that the crowd was chanting, “We will stand our ground. We will not move,” as police attempted to clear the area.
The TV station said another crowd had gathered at the hospital where the Castile was taken.
According to her Facebook page, Reynolds works in housekeeping at the Embassy Suites Hotel and is originally from Chicago in Illinois.
Many commended her courage for documenting the moment her partner was killed.
In a poignant moment towards the end of the video, Reynolds’s four-year-old daughter can be heard reassuring her deeply distraught mother.
“It’s OK, mommy,” says the girl. “It’s OK, I’m right here with you.”
|Police in the state of Minnesota have confirmed that an officer has been placed on administrative leave after shooting [Reuters|