Minn. Driver Wouldn't Have Been Shot If He Were White: Gov. Dayton | NBC Chicago
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Minn. Driver Wouldn't Have Been Shot If He Were White: Gov. Dayton

President Obama addressed the shooting, and another in Louisiana, Thursday evening

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    The girlfriend of a man who was fatally shot in a car on Wednesday night by a Minnesota police officer says he was "never a bad man.” Diamond Reynolds, the woman who was in the car at the time of the shooting along with her daughter, says they were pulled over by police for a broken tail light.

    Reynolds described the incident, saying as her boyfriend reached for his ID and wallet, the officer began shooting into the car. Reynolds also called on Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to take action for those who have proper license to carry, as Castile attempted to explain police officers during the stop. (Published Thursday, July 7, 2016)

    The girlfriend of a black man who was fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer said her boyfriend was killed even though he complied with the officer's instructions. 

    Diamond Reynolds told reporters Thursday that Philando Castile did "nothing but what the police officer asked of us, which was to put your hands in the air and get your license and registration." 

    Reynolds, who recorded the aftermath on live video, said other officers at the scene didn't check on Castile after the shooting, but that they tried to calm the officer involved as they put her in a police car. 

    She didn't know the officer's name but described him as Asian. 

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    ***WARNING: Video may be disturbing to some viewers.*** Philando Castile was fatally shot by police in Minnesota on July 6, 2016. A woman identifying herself as his girlfriend live streamed the immediate aftermath to Facebook. This portion of the streamed video appears to show a police officer pointing a gun through the car window. (Published Thursday, July 7, 2016)

    Castile was killed Wednesday night in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights during a traffic stop. 

    The shooting prompted responses from President Barack Obama, who said Thursday evening "all fair-minded people should be concerned" about shootings disproportionately affecting African-Americans, and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who said in a statement Thursday morning that he asked the White House to compel the U.S. Department of Justice to begin an independent federal investigation into Castile's shooting.

    "He didn't have any last words," Reynolds recalled. "His eyes rolled into the back of his head and he was gone instantly."

    Castile, who would have turned 33 on Friday, died at the hospital around 9 p.m. local time Wednesday. An autopsy was pending Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he was "shocked and deeply, deeply offended" that an incident like this took place in Minnesota. He said the officer's response was "way in excess" for a traffic stop. 

    "Would this have happened if the driver and the passengers had been white?" he asked. "I don't think so."

    Dayton said the investigation will be handled by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension — a branch of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The agency will work closely with federal officials who will monitor the investigation, he said. 

    Mona Dohman, commissioner of Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said officials were in the process of interviewing the officer involved, but would not release his identity until they received his statement. 

    It's the second police-involved shooting of a black man to gain nationwide attention in as many days. Alton Sterling, was killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The U.S. Department of Justice said it will investigate that death. 

    The Justice Department said Thursday that it was aware of the Minnesota shooting and was "assessing the situation." 

    President Obama was "deeply disturbed" by the two shootings, according to a White House spokesman. He released a Facebook message Thursday, then gave a statement to reporters upon landing in Warsaw, Poland, for a conference.

    Unable to comment about the specifics of the cases, given the federal government's involvement in the investigation, Obama called for those who consider protests against police shootings an act of political correctness to reconsider.

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    Baton Rouge residents called for the arrest of police officers who killed 37-year-old Alton Sterling in a point-blank shooting caught on camera. The U.S. Justice Department reported that they would investigate the incident. (Published Wednesday, July 6, 2016)

    "When people say 'black lives matter,' that doesn't mean blue lives don't matter, it just means all lives matter," he said. "It just means that, right now, the data shows black folks are more vulnerable to these incidents."

    Obama cited statistics saying African-Americans are more likely to be pulled over, searched, arrested and shot than white people, and that "to be concerned about these issues is not to be against law enforcement," a tough job whose heroism he hailed.

    Reynolds told reporters Thursday the couple and her daughter had gone shopping and Castile had just been to the barber for his upcoming birthday when a St. Anthony cop pulled them over. 

    She said the officer asked them if they knew they had a broken taillight, and they responded no.

    Reynolds said the officer asked them to put their hands in the air, and they complied. The officer then asked Castile, who was driving, for his identification. 

    She said he kept it in a wallet in a right-back pants pocket.

    "As he's reaching, he lets the officer know, 'I have a firearm on me,'" Reynolds said, adding that he was licensed to carry and "nothing in his body said intimidation."

    That's when the officer, she said, drew his weapon and fired off up to five shots at Castile, ordering, "Don't move, don't move."

    Reynolds said the officer appeared to be crying after the shooting. "He was frantic and very, very nervous." 

    She said she recorded the aftermath on her cellphone and put it on Facebook because "I wanted everyone to know that no matter how much the police tamper with evidence ... I wanted to put it on Facebook and go viral so that the people can see."

    Castile's sister, Allysza Castile, told NBC News she learned of what happened from Reynolds' video, and rushed out with her mother. 

    Valerie Castile said her only thought was to "get over there, be with my son — I don't want him to die alone."

    She told NBC News Thursday he had a concealed permit to carry a firearm, and that the two spoke about what to do if he was ever stopped by law enforcement.

    "'You tell them you have a weapon on you, and whatever they ask you to do, you do it,'" Valerie Castile said she told her son. But "what's the difference if you comply and you get killed anyway?"

    Earlier, she told CNN her son was just "black in the wrong place" and that he was a victim of "a silent war against African-American people." 

    She said she's angry that officials wouldn't let her identify her son's body and that she will have to wait until after the autopsy to see him.

    Dayton said it was "extraordinary" that Reynolds was able to record the video, but the actions of the officer involved should not reflect overall law enforcement. 

    Castile was a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul.

    Saint Paul Public Schools said in a Facebook post Castile 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.

    Castile was promoted two years ago and was working in one of the schools during the summer. 

    "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," the statement said. 

    Reynolds described him as a "very, very sweet man" who cared for his family and wasn't involved with street gangs.

    The officer "took a part of my heart," she said. "He took a part of my soul."