Another Shooting

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails about the story of the day:

White cop from St. Anthony department shot Black man at traffic stop on Larpenteur at Fry in Falcon Heights.  Passenger took video, protests and vigils occurring.

you might want to reiterate your policy of refusing to comment until facts are known to stop speculation on SITD.

As with all shooting stories; the first 24-48 hours of media reporting will be absolutely squalid.    I’ll be withholding most comment.

Doakes continues, speaking about the narrative from the video (which I’ll include below the jump):

Passenger says cop asked driver for his wallet, driver reached down for it and while reaching, told cop that driver had a concealed carry permit and was carrying (which they tell us in training you’re supposed to do).  Cop told driver to put his hands up, driver brought his hands back up and officer opened fire because driver was making threatening movements, possibly bringing up the gun.

I’m guessing young cop, twilight, Black guy, gun . . . yeah, that script pretty much writes itself.  Girlfriend and child in the car watched it all.

Not an accidental discharge, by the way, several shots fired.

Driver age 32, employed, no serious criminal record if he had a concealed carry permit . . . bad scene all around.

Not just employed; employed by the Saint Paul Public Schools, apparently, in a position for which (I’m informed) one needs to pass a background check.

My focus would be additional mandatory training for law enforcement and for permitted carriers: What, exactly, are permitted carriers supposed to do if stopped when carrying? Play-act it.  Drivers need to know so they don’t alarm officers, and officers need to have a standard method of handling the situation.

Joe Doakes

While I neither confirm nor deny I own or carry any firearms, I have sat through carry permit training; the most prudent course seems to be to inform the officer only when there’s a likelihood of a search – like, if you’re asked to get out of the car.    This was posited for exactly the reasons that seem likely to have occurred in this incident;   an incident that started as a fix-it ticket (apparently) escalated because a (law-abiding, black) man told the (apparently jumpy, possibly rookie) cop that he had a permit and gun in a manner that had likely been prescribed to him in his training.

We don’t know all the facts, though.

Indeed, that’s my only real answer to everything in this incident; we don’t know the facts yet.  Everything that everyone is saying is conjecture at this point.  Not pure, unadulterated conjecture; the video shot by the girlfriend an interesting wrinkle to this case (statements made while the incident is still in progress are admissable under Minnesota rules of evidence, although I’m not sure of any limitations that might apply); her story, for what it’s worth, stays very consistent through several retellings on video.

Question:  if Philando Castile was shot unjustly, was it because of paranoia over black men, or over the new plague of urban paranoia over gun owners?

Anyway, I’ll urge everyone to reserve judgment, knowing full well nobody will.

Video follows:

36 thoughts on “Another Shooting

  1. There is definitely more to the story as video apparently shows the aftermath immediately after and not the altercation itself.

  2. Tough one. I recall the CC training and the instructions that for everyone’s safety you should disclose that you have a PERMIT and a GUN in that order. My sense is that if I were carrying and pulled over I would let the officer know this BEFORE I reached for anything just in case my weapon and wallet were in close proximity. I would also ask the officer if it is then alright for me to take out my wallet. As galling as it may be to play, “Mother May I” in a borderline stressful situation, even if it’s just a “fix-it ticket”, in today’s environment I would want to establish clear communications with the officer. Without it, if any portion of the gun were to become visible as I took out my wallet then it could all go south instantly – as it appears to have happened in this case. I think the officer was out of line in this case, but that doesn’t mean much right now to Philando Castile’s family.

    My first priority, assuming I could think clearly in the moment, would be to live through the encounter; I can then protest all I want, and file all the complaints I want, after the fact.

  3. One thing of note is that it’s not clear that he did indeed have a permit, and the officer might have run a check to know that and if he had any outstanding warrants. So if the deceased was lying about his permit, the cop would have been (per NW’s comment) even more on edge. Hopefully body cam/microphone clears this up.

    It’s also incredibly unhelpful that people are assuming this was a DWB incident, especially given it happened at night, and it would have been very difficult to figure out his race in the first place.

  4. A question I have about this situation, from what has been seen and reported so far, is when the cop got his gun out. Do police routinely unholster now when making a traffic violation stop, or when they determine the driver is black, or perhaps Scots-Irish? This seems as if it escalated very quickly.

  5. I have seen in numerous places reports that the officer was of Asian descent, though I haven’t seen this confirmed anywhere. I don’t find this to make much difference at all, but it may affect the dynamics as this plays out publicly.

    And if we’re going to speculate, I think Occam’s Razor tells us this is the likeliest scenario: officer approaches car with weapon in hand, and quite possibly with the memory of Scott Patrick getting blown away in a “routine” traffic stop somewhere in his mind . . . driver, who from what we know was complying, tells him he has a gun – at the same time he’s reaching for his id/wallet . . . officer hears word “gun” and sees driver reach into pocket, and panics . . . all parties start screaming, confusion reigns, and tragedy occurs.

  6. If cops consider it so dangerous to approach a vehicle, maybe we should halt the routine stopping of cars with tail lights out.

  7. This case is exactly why every cop who steps foot outside of every precinct station, nation-wide, should be wearing a body cam ***that they can’t turn off or from which they can’t delete video***. Technology has come far enough that the cost and weight are no longer sufficient reasons not to implement. This incident will probably cost SPPD at least 7 figures.

  8. I don’t believe they do, and the St. Anthony chief is taking some heat in certain corners of the internet for comments he recently made in which he was opposed to the use of bodycams.

    Halting stops for having tail lights out might be a good policy, but such stops are often a way to discover unlicensed or uninsured drivers, people subject to arrest warrants, and the like. On the other hand, they are very easily used as a tool of harassment, so perhaps it would be better to stop this practice – this is a close question.

  9. If you want to notify the car’s owner of a safety issue, then record the license plate and send the violation or warning through the DMV; no need to get out of your car.

    If you want to fill your quota or look busy, then keep pulling people over. Besides, the Supreme Court now says you don’t even need a reason.

  10. Decades ago, I was City Attorney for a small town in rural Minnesota. I told the cops it was fine to stop every violator to ask for license, insurance, check for warrants and have you been drinking? If they’re clean, let ’em go with a warning. Don’t bring me chickens**t tickets because I’m not going to squander my reputation watching the judge dismiss your cheap pinches. But if the routine inquiries turn up wants or warrants, driving after suspension, no insurance, drunk driving . . . fine, hammer ’em. I’m not the least bit embarrassed to take serious offenses to the judge.

    Could be these cops were trolling for violators when they stopped him for the tail-light and the whole thing went pear-shaped. I never had that happen on my watch, thank the Lord. Doesn’t invalidate the reasons behind the trolling policy.

  11. his went down a few miles from where I live. A few thoughts:

    I live just to the east of St. Anthony; my property line is on the border with New Brighton. St. Anthony is pretty much Brigadoon — almost nothing ever happens there, so the primary task of the St. Anthony Police Department is collecting revenue for the villages the SAPD serves (St. Anthony, Falcon Heights and Lauderdale). The chief of the SAPD said he didn’t remember anything like this happening on his force in 30 years. I’m sure the chief is correct. About the only crime that ever happens in SA involves people shoplifting from the stores up Silver Lake Road.

    It’s always been my impression that SA cops have a fair amount of Barney Fife in them. My guess is this local yokel cop panicked. It’s a bad result. Obviously I can’t prove this, but I think if this stop had taken place two miles to the west (in Minneapolis) or a mile to the east (in St. Paul), Mr. Castile would still be alive, because the cops in Mpls and St. Paul would have read the situation more accurately.

    I’m with NW — I think pulling people over for a broken tail light is ridiculous. Cops should just take a picture of the plate and send a note through the DMV. It’s almost always a pretext stop designed to catch the motorist in a second violation. I’ve been pulled over for a broken tail light and I got a warning. But if revenue collection is your aim, these stops will continue to happen.

  12. D and NW. Agree. This is what happens when you turn police force into nothing more than overzealous tax collectors.

  13. “But if revenue collection is your aim, these stops will continue to happen.”

    If you want to find a Roseville or SAP cop, just drive up and down Snelling or Larpenteur, respectively. Traffic stops seem to be the main order of business for both departments.

  14. It would be interesting to know what percentage of, say, broken taillight stops actually do allow an officer to make an arrest for something more serious. We could then generate a risk/reward matrix.

    And for reference, here’s the crime map results. Low crime in St. Anthony, but Minneapolis to the west and Roseville to the east. I can see a bit of “wanting to keep the riff-raff in check” here.

    Eagerly awaiting further information on this case.

  15. IF the initial reports are even close to truthful, and if the SAPD has no contrary evidence, this will end badly for them.

    As for revenue collection, in St. Croix county you avoid North Hudson as it’s a well-known speed trap. There’s a reason there were, at one time, 5 full time and 2 part time officers for a town of fewer than 4K folks that gets the bulk of their protection from the county sheriff.

  16. The video tells us a lot. The woman was remarkably calm especially since she had a still smoking pistol pointed at her, the copper was clearly panicked, yelling “F*ck! F*ck!” as if he realized he had over reacted.

    DMA makes a great point; if these rinky dink cops are so fearful of approaching a vehicle, don’t go fishing with routine stopping of cars with tail lights out.

    This is a case that BLM can actually make a point with, but they will probably blow it. They should keep Ms Leviathan-pounds away from cameras.

  17. I believe North Hudson has a 25 mph speed limit if I recall correctly. Lot of Wis. towns do.

    The worst is Superior, on 35 going out of town to the south. There’s about a 5-10 mile stretch of beautiful 4 lane, concrete street, limited stop lights – 25 mph.

  18. My MN carry class suggested that, once the police lights come on, you use your time pulling over to get your wallet out and put it on the dashboard, if possible. When asked for your license, at the same time hand over your carry permit while saying “I have a permit to carry – which I am giving you with my license here – and I do have it on. How would you like to proceed?” Well known gun trainer Massad Ayoob in one of his books had a very similar line to use with police when pulled over.

  19. BTW, this is something GOCRA and the NRA should comment on

    I don’t speak for GOCRA, but my sense is they’re refraining from commenting until they know more facts.

    But if the facts turn out as if it appears they may, there will be a response.

  20. They kept her until 5AM? She said they were grilling her like they wanted her to mess up under stress?

    That’s what she said. Seems bad.

  21. Hmmm. A conundrum. When do you think we will start hearing calls for disarming the police? After all, if it is evil guns that kill people, why should police carry? Or national guard? Or army? The logical extension of ork thinking, no?

  22. I went back and watched the video again. Note: it was 9:00 p.m. in the evening, which this time of year in Minnesota is nearly broad daylight. There is plenty of light in the video, both inside the car and on the surrounding street. I don’t think the “twilight” or “didn’t know he was black” explanation is going to fly. It certainly won’t fly as much as the sh*t-storm is going to.

  23. I have seen in numerous places reports that the officer was of Asian descent, though I haven’t seen this confirmed anywhere. I don’t find this to make much difference at all, but it may affect the dynamics as this plays out publicly.

    He was Latino.

  24. Now we have an ambush killing of 5 Dallas police officers with another six wounded. The was orchestrated and carried out by at least four left wing radical Obama supporters. All at what was reported to be a peaceful protest against the police for Castile’s shooting.

  25. I’d bet even money that we will have martial law before the election and it will be delayed for an as of now indeterminate period.

    Obama didn’t get everything done he wanted to get done.

  26. The inconsistencies are starting to pile up on this case. If I were a detective, I would want to search Philandro’s closet to see if there are any clothes matching those in the armed robbery photo. Just sayin.’

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