By Carla K. Johnson and Steve Karnowski, Associated Press – When Philando Castile saw the flashing lights in his rearview mirror the night he got shot, it wasn’t unusual. He had been pulled over at least 52 times in recent years in and around the Twin Cities and given citations for minor offenses including speeding, driving without a muffler and not wearing a seat belt.
He was assessed at least $6,588 in fines and fees, although more than half of the total 86 violations were dismissed, court records show.
Was Castile an especially bad driver or just unlucky? Or was he targeted by officers who single out black motorists like him for such stops, as several of his family members have alleged?
The answer may never be known, but Castile’s stop for a broken tail light Wednesday ended with him fatally shot by a suburban St. Paul police officer, and Castile’s girlfriend livestreaming the chilling aftermath.
The shooting has added a new impetus to a national debate on racial profiling; a day after Castile died, a black Army veteran killed five officers in Dallas at a demonstration over Castile’s killing and another fatal police shooting, in Louisiana.
The Castile video “is pretty horrific,” said Gavin Kearney, who in 2003 co-authored a report to the Minnesota Legislature on racial profiling in the state. “There are things we don’t know about it. But we know there are certain assumptions and biases — whether explicit or implicit — about black men that affect how police officers interpret their actions. And we know white drivers are less likely to be pulled over.”
Court records dating to 2002 show Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria supervisor, averaged more than three traffic stops per year and received citations for misdemeanors or petty misdemeanors.
Read the full story at AP.org. Welcome to life in Black America.