Protests over the fatal shooting of Philando Castile by a suburban police officer stretched into Friday morning near the Minnesota governor's residence, as new details about the encounter emerged and many continued calling for a federal inquiry.
Late on Thursday night, authorities said Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor at a St Paul school, had been killed by multiple gunshot wounds, and the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. State investigators identified the officer who shot him as Jeronimo Yanez, a four-year veteran of the St Anthony Police Department.
Much remained unknown about the events leading up to the shooting, about Yanez’s background, and about whether the justice department would open a separate, federal investigation into the case.
Throughout Thursday, hundreds of protesters had gathered outside the governor's residence in St Paul, many prompted to act by the Facebook Live video streamed by Castile's girlfriend showing the graphic aftermath of the shooting.
Both governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, and President Barack Obama spoke out after the shooting, expressing concern about encounters with police officers that have left African-Americans like Castile dead.
But as night fell in St Paul and chanting continued, word spread about the shooting of several officers in Dallas after a protest march there. Some Minnesota demonstrators stood together to watch the news footage, and roughly a dozen St Paul police officers gathered in a nearby church carpark, an apparent increase in force from earlier in the evening.
Even with a turnout that numbered in the thousands, the Minnesota protests remained peaceful but forceful. As midnight passed and the crowd waned, the scene grew more tense at times, with face-offs between the remaining protesters and officers in riot gear.
By about 3am, the scene seemed to have calmed again, though some demonstrators remained outside the governor’s mansion. Hours earlier, some of Castile’s relatives, including a sister who said she considered him a father figure, addressed the protesters and spoke of their grief.
“That was my father, and they took that away from me,” said the sister, Allysza Castile. “Something has to change because they are killing our black men.” In speeches and interviews, many who knew Castile recalled him as a gentle, kind man who was passionate about his job.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating his death, said the shooting happened after Yanez and another officer,
, pulled Castile over on Wednesday night in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St Paul that St Anthony police are contracted to patrol.
Investigators gave few details about what had happened, but they said that Yanez had approached from the driver’s side and Kauser from the passenger’s side, and that Yanez eventually opened fire.
State officials said a gun was recovered from the scene, though the Facebook Live video suggested Castile might have had a permit to carry a gun legally. State officials said they were barred by law from saying whether Castile had a concealed-carry permit.
– (New York Times service)