The real reason why Philando and his girlfriend were stopped is being revealed through police recordings of the officer before he stopped them. It explains more of why the officer was so on edge. Check this out.
There remains much that we don’t know about this — the tragic shooting of Mr. Castile, a school cafeteria worker, during a traffic stop in Minnesota — so the point here is not that a new narrative has been definitively established. But there are key elements of the story that are now credibly contradicted by emerging evidence.
Jenn Jacques at Bearing Arms has an excellent summary of them. Readers are familiar with the original narrative from Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who broadcast heartbreaking, live phone video of Castile after he was shot. The policeman stopped Castile, the driver, for a broken taillight, and supposedly shot Castile while he was reaching for his wallet — mistaking the movement for a reach for Castile’s gun, which we are told he advised the officer of, and had a carry permit for.
Perhaps worst of all, we were left to believe that the officer simply let Philando Castile bleed out in the car. The ambiguities of a given situation might prevent us from drawing hasty conclusions about the officer’s choice to shoot if he felt threatened. But once Castile was unable to move and was bleeding badly, there surely was no excuse for leaving him without the emergency care on scene in which all police officers are trained.
Now it looks like the most important features of the original narrative were incorrect. First of all, the police officer didn’t stop Castile because of a “busted taillight.” We know that from the police radio recording. At the time, the police were on the lookout for two suspects in the armed robbery of a store in the area, and Castile and Reynolds fit the description. The officer who made the stop reported that he was about to stop the vehicle for that reason.
The officer clearly states, “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 driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide set nose,” the officer on the recording confirms.
Approximately a minute and a half later, comes the first report that there was a shooting.
This fact changes the nature of the incident more than any other. An officer who thinks he may be stopping armed robbers will have a different mindset — about the threat level — from the one he’d have if he were just stopping someone for a broken taillight. He’d be more likely to suspect the presence of a gun, and suspect that it could be used against him. He’d be justified in firing into the car if he had to, even with other people in it, to save his own life.
Meanwhile, a photo posted by a bystander seems to show that the Castile car had two functioning taillights anyway. (Since the video streamed by Reynolds was in daylight, this image would have had to be from later in the day. That would fit, however, with the time it probably would have taken the tweeter, Rashad Turner, to get to the scene.)
On scene in falcon heights. Police killed another black man. Car pulled over for taillight. Both taillight on tho pic.twitter.com/DpOM6q4taR
— RashadAnthony Turner (@RashadsRepublic) July 7, 2016
A video posted on YouTube also appears to contradict the most damning feature of the incident: the officer’s implied disregard for Philando Castile’s condition after he was shot. The video — assuming it does depict the aftermath of this incident — shows a pair of officers giving Castile CPR on the road next to the car.