Tuesday, July 12, 2016

UPDATED: Murders of Alton Sterling & Philando Castile: No 2nd Amendment rights for blacks

If you are intent on owning slaves, you had better arm yourself. The same should be said if you plan on appropriating the lands of indigenous people. These twin realities gave birth to America's special relationship with guns and have insured that the real right to gun ownership in the United States has always been tied to questions of race. Even though we near the end of the second term of America's first black president, current events show all too graphically that in the United States, the Second Amendment - the constitutional right to bear arms, continues to largely be a white skin privilege.
Alton Sterling's murder
Philando Castile's murder
5 July 2016 - Alton Sterling, 37, was pinned to the ground by two Baton Rouge cops. One yells "he's got a gun" and seemingly in direct response to that, the other cop deliberately removes his weapon from its holster, takes point blank aim at Sterling's chest, and fills him full of lead. Louisiana is an "open carry state" and Sterling's gun never left his pocket until one of the officers removed it after they murdered him. For years, he had been selling CDs in front of this convenience store. Recently he had started carrying a gun for protection. It got him killed.

6 July 2016 - Philando Castile, 32, was shot by police during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. He had a gun, and according to the woman with him, Ms. Diamond Reynolds, a concealed carry permit. She said he told the police that he had a gun. The cop asked him for his license and ID. When he reached for it in his back pocket, the cop opened up on him. Minutes went by while Castile bled out and died. He never received any medical treatment. The police on the scene seemed more interested in stopping Reynolds from live-streaming the incident than in trying to save the life of the man they had just shot.

Some cops can't tolerate armed blacks

The attorney for the cop that shot Castile has come out arguing that it had nothing to do with race, it was merely the presence of the gun:
"This had nothing to do with race. This had everything to do with the presence of a gun,"
What are the odds? Lots of people in Minnesota carry weapons, not just Castile. If the officer was merely reacting to the presence of a weapon during a traffic stop, what are the odds that this rare officer involved shooting in the mostly white community of Falcon Heights would result in the death of a black man? Maybe not as steep as we might think. We now know that Castile had been stopped by police 52 times in the Twin Cities area in recent years for minor offenses including speeding, driving without a muffler and not wearing a seat belt. On the fatal night, he had been pulled over for a broken tail light. Family members think he was being racially profiled.

A review of recent and past history makes it clear that we have a problem in this country with the number of black men that are shot and killed by police every year. It also shows that any black man who exercises his Second Amendment right to bear arms runs a special risk of being shot by the police. The attorney is wrong, his client didn't just react to a man with a gun, he reacted to a black man with a gun. What's more, you don't even have to be a black man with a gun to be summarily executed as one.

Tamir Rice, 12, wasn't yet a man and wasn't armed, but he was black. Sometimes that's enough. He was playing with a pellet gun in a Cleveland, Ohio park. Two cops, responding to a report "of a male black sitting on a swing and pointing a gun at people" didn't take time to make another assessment. They shot this child dead two seconds after arriving on the scene.

John Crawford, 22, was shot while handling a toy BB gun on display in a Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart. The Dayton Daily News reported:
Williams [the cop/shooter] said he saw a man with a rifle standing in a store aisle, matching the description dispatchers had given him of a black man waving a weapon at shoppers.
So he shot him. Crawford went down, and when he tried to lift up, Williams shot him dead.

Blogging in Real Time
- I can't make this shit up.

After much research, I started writing this post on Sunday morning. By sometime after noon, I had finished the section above and decided to take a break, get a bite to eat and listen to some music on the boardwalk. While I was on this break, I witnessed and filmed this arrest of a violent black man by the LAPD. I don't know what his story was or what set him off in these tense times. He acted deranged and apparently went into the Candle Cafe, right next to the place where I had just eaten, and started attacking people. By the time I became aware of the commotion, he was fighting everybody in the cafe. It seemed like it took forever for the police to arrived. When they did, it was in force and most were sporting green handled pistols I hadn't seen before. They soon had him in custody and were treating his injuries, which were not caused by them. In that regard, he received far better treatment than Alton Sterling or Philando Castile, and I've seen the LAPD do far worst. All this happened within a hundred feet of were Shakespeare was murdered. And now to return to my narrative...
The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America may only be second to the First Amendment in terms of the amount of attention it has received in America, or it may indeed be first. It certainly is receiving a lot of attention this election year in which there have been a number of high profile mass shootings.

The second amendment was never meant to apply to black people. From the earliest days of American history there have been prohibitions against even free blacks carrying firearms, sometimes allowing summary executions. These once written, and now unwritten, laws continue to be enforced today, that is the truth behind the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Since the Second Amendment itself is colorblind, and has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to protect the right of individual citizens to bear arms, it should equally protect the right of black Americans to do so, and yet time and again we hear about black people who have been shot by the police, not for pulling a gun on the cop but merely for being armed, and many more incidents where the black person shot was in fact unarmed but the excuse given by the cop was "I thought he had a gun."

It would seem we have a problem and that problem has a history.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
One thing we can be certain of is that the framers of the constitution never meant for the Second Amendment to protect the rights of black people to bear arms. They wanted the Second Amendment to protect slavery. While today the courts interpret it as giving the individual the right to carry a gun, it was originally written to protect the right of states to organize militias. As Thom Hartmann said in his well worth reading The Second Amendment Was Ratified to Preserve Slavery:
In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the "slave patrols," and they were regulated by the states.
Roger Williams School of Law professor Carl T. Bogus documented much of this history in a 1998 UC Law Review article. He noted:
The militia remained the principal means of protecting the social order and preserving white control over an enormous black population, anything that might weaken this system presented the gravest of threats.
The amendments that were drafted in 1789 were designed to patch what were seen as deficiencies in the constitution just adopted in 1788. One of the problems with this new constitution, from the point of view of the slave holders, was that while it provided for an armed force to protect the country from foreign invasion, it did not guarantee protection from internal revolt by their "property." Patrick Henry saw the irony of their apartheid situation:
"If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress [slave] insurrections [under this new Constitution]. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded."
He told James Madison, who drafted the amendments,
"In this situation, I see a great deal of the property of the people of Virginia in jeopardy, and their peace and tranquility gone."
For this reason, when Virginia did ratify the US constitution, on 25 June 1788, it was with the submission of a number of proposed amendments, one of which,
11th That each state respectively shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming, and discipline its own militia, ...
turned into the Second Amendment. Without the Southern slave patrols, I mean "State Militias," the slave autocracy would have collapsed. The Second Amendment was added to the constitution to protect slavery and make the enforcement of white supremacy possible.

It went without saying that those "well regulated militias" were expected to be white. When the United States took over Louisiana in 1803, there was a free black militia of New Orleans that had a history going back decades. By 1801 it had grown to two battalions of 496 men. French Creoles explained how this militia was important to such black power as existed then and why they were allowed to exist under both Spanish and French administrations:
Local militia units commanded by black officers furnished critical support for free blacks and provided them with their most significant political institution. Colonial administrators depended on free blacks to defend their provinces because in Louisiana and other frontier regions able-bodied white men were too few, a situation free men of color used to their advantage.
After Thomas Jefferson appointed William C. C. Claiborne [no relation] governor, this black militia pledged loyalty to him and their new country. This presented this representative of the Second Amendment with a dilemma, with the territory now under US control, the planters expected the black militia to be disbanded, even though it had also done slave catching patrols like the others. So Governor Claiborne refused this early offer to integrate the military. In 1804 he wrote to Secretary of War Henry Dearborn:
"it would be prudent not to increase the Corps, but to diminish, if it could be done without giving offense."
The US was slow to gain control over its new territory and the free black militia hung in there for at least another decade, even volunteering to defend New Orleans when the British began landing troops outside the city in 1814 in the War of 1812.

Police powers used to disarm Black People

Protecting slavery didn't just require the arming of slave patrols and militias. It also required the disarming of blacks. Ironically, this was one of the tasks regularly carried out by these Second Amendment protected militias. Taking the example of Georgia, Dr. Bogus wrote:
"The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month and authorized them to search 'all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition' and to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found outside plantation grounds."
After Nat Turner's Rebellion in 1831, Virginia made it illegal for free blacks "to keep or carry any firelock of any kind, any military weapon, or any powder or lead...," existing laws that allowed blacks to carry firearms under certain circumstances were repealed and it was made entirely illegal for blacks possess arms. In 1834, Tennessee added the word "white" to Article XI, 26 of the state constitution it had adopted in 1796, so that it would then read:
That the free white men of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defence.
Especially after Nat Turner's Rebellion, prohibitions against blacks arming themselves proliferated both North and South in spite of the fact that in addition to all the other reasons people needed to be armed in those days, free blacks had to protect themselves from slavers. Nevertheless, the pre-Civil War courts where able to stomach the legal contortions used to justify not applying the Second Amendment to free blacks.

In 1843, when faced with a challenge to a North Carolina statute requiring free blacks to obtain a license to "keep and bear arms" that was in violation of both the Second Amendment and a similar guarantee in the state constitution, the North Carolina Supreme Court fell back on what can only be described as racist logic to justify the obvious violation of the two constitutions by saying:
Its only object is to preserve the peace and safety of the community from being disturbed by an indiscriminate use, on ordinary occasions, by free men of color, of fire arms or other arms of an offensive character. Self preservation is the first law of nations, as it is of individuals.
So two constitutions got over-ruled by "the first law of nations" in the North Carolina courts. In the Georgia Court decision of Cooper and Worsham v. Savannah (1848), at its heart a question of whether a new Savannah tax could be applied to free blacks, Justice Warner delivered the Court's opinion, which resolved this dispute by declaring that free blacks were not citizens. It also showed that the Court understood Mao Tse Tung's observation that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun long before he was even born:
"Free persons of color have never been recognized here as citizens; they are not entitled to bear arms, vote for members of the legislature, or to hold any civil office."
They saw the right to self-arm as one of the three pillars of political power, one of the essential rights of citizenship. After the Civil War had been fought and won, the drafters of the 14th Amendment also "clearly believed that the right of individuals to have guns for self-defense was an essential element of citizenship."

After the Civil War, the various Black Codes adopted throughout the South required blacks to obtain a license before carrying or possessing a firearm or even a Bowie knife. As you can imagine, these licenses were hard to come by, and these self-defense restrictions were put on free blacks just when they were facing the white terror of the Klan. In January 1866, Harper’s Weekly reported that in Mississippi, such groups had “seized every gun and pistol found in the hands of the (so called) freedmen” in parts of the state.

The courts continued to find a way to ignore the Second Amendment when it came to blacks and other minorities in the last century. In 1920, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a Mexican for "concealed carry of a handgun" while asleep in his own bed! In his dissent, Justice Wanamaker spoke bluntly about the supreme court decisions from Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky his own court cited:
The southern states have very largely furnished the precedents. It is only necessary to observe that the race issue there has extremely intensified a decisive purpose to entirely disarm the negro, and this policy is evident upon reading the opinions.
Then he added, sarcastically:
If this decision shall stand as the law of Ohio, a very large percentage of the good people of Ohio to-day are criminals, because they are daily committing criminal acts by having these weapons in their own homes for their own defense. The only safe course for them to pursue, instead of having the weapon concealed on or about their person, or under their pillow at night, is to hang the revolver on the wall and put below it a large placard with these words inscribed:
"The Ohio supreme court having decided that it is a crime to carry a concealed weapon on one's person in one's home, even in one's bed or bunk, this weapon is hung upon the wall that you may see it, and before you commit any burglary or assault, please, Mr. Burglar, hand me my gun."
In 1941, when the Florida Supreme Court overturned a conviction for carrying a handgun without a permit because the handgun was in the glove compartment of a car in Watson v. Stone, Justice Buford's concurring opinion told us much about the origin and purpose of such laws:
I know something of the history of this legislation. The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of negro laborers in this State drawn here for the purpose of working in turpentine and lumber camps. The same condition existed when the Act was amended in 1901 and the Act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers and to thereby reduce the unlawful homicides that were prevalent in turpentine and saw-mill camps and to give the white citizens in sparsely settled areas a better feeling of security. The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied.
Malcolm X
In 1962 Robert Williams published Negroes with Guns in which he recounts the struggle of a southern black community to arm itself in the face of growing Klan violence. This is why he said armed self defense was essential to combat the racist system:
The existence of violence is at the very heart of a racist system. The Afro-American militant is a 'militant' because he defends himself, his family, his home and his dignity. He does not introduce violence into a racist social system--the violence is already there and has always been there. It is precisely the unchallenged violence that allows a racist social system to perpetuate itself. When people say they are opposed to Negroes "resorting to violence" what they really mean is that they are opposed to Negroes defending themselves and challenging the exclusive monopoly of violence practiced by white racists.
The Black Panther Party understood well the relationship between armed self defense and political power and so did the California legislator. In 1967 they repeal a law allowing public carrying of firearms after the Black Panthers started armed copwatch patrols in Oakland. This was a gun control measure supported by the National Rifle Association and signed into law by Ronald Reagan! As black militants continued to assert their right to bear arms, congress passed the Gun Control Act of 1968, the first federal gun-control law in 30 years.

The Civil War ended the slave patrols but not the role of armed bodies of white men in terrorizing and controlling the now 100%FREE black population. State militias and local police forces, aided by the outright terror of such groups as the Klu Klux Klan and the White Citizens Councils, took over that task. In tandem with this, the criminal justice system was reshaped to replace slavery as the principal mechanism for controlling the oppressed black population. Sometime this was complete obvious, as when former plantations were turned into state run penal farms, and sometimes it wasn't so obvious.

The criminal justice system, and especially the many bogus arrests for drug use and loitering, has been used to aggressively take away the rights of citizenship, including the right to vote and the right to bear arms, from many black people. See The New Jim Crow for details.

The need to disarm black people, and the fear of armed blacks, remained as much a concern for those charged with directly applying the heel of white supremacy to the black masses as it was in the time of slavery, and for essentially the same reasons. After the hundreds of years of the history I have only so briefly outlined here, this almost irrational fear of blacks with guns is thoroughly baked into the DNA of most police departments. The fact that cops still acting on this code regularly get away with murder is doing nothing to curtain its practice. Certainly, its not the only reason so many black people are shot by police, especially since many are unarmed, but I believe it was a big contributing factor in the police murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

The way to end these police murders is to end the white supremacist system that requires them.

UPDATE 15 July 2016:

UPDATE 15 November 2016
New York Times is reporting:
Officer Who Shot Philando Castile Is Charged With Manslaughter

By Christina Capwcchi and Mitch Smith. 16
16 November 2016
ST. PAUL — The suburban police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile, the black driver whose last moments this summer were streamed live on Facebook, was charged on Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter and accused of escalating a mundane roadside exchange into a needlessly violent episode.

In outlining the case against Officer Jeronimo Yanez, prosecutors described a traffic stop on July 6 that spiraled out of control when Officer Yanez overreacted to the presence of Mr. Castile’s lawfully carried gun and shot him despite pleas that he was not reaching for the weapon.

“No reasonable officer — knowing, seeing and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time — would have used deadly force under these circumstances,” the Ramsey County attorney, John J. Choi, said. Officer Yanez, who will appear in court on Friday, was also charged with two felony counts of intentional discharge of a dangerous weapon.

Mr. Choi said Officer Yanez spotted Mr. Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, driving along a stretch of road near the state fairgrounds with his girlfriend and her young daughter. Officer Yanez believed Mr. Castile matched the description of a suspect in a nearby armed robbery from a few days earlier, radioing a colleague that Mr. Castile’s “wide-set nose” seemed to match the surveillance video from that case, and that his car also had a broken taillight.

Mr. Castile, who had been pulled over dozens of times before, seemed to know the routine: He kept his seatbelt fastened, greeted Officer Yanez and handed over his insurance card, according to prosecutors’ version of events. Then, before his girlfriend said he reached for the wallet that contained his driver’s license and permit to carry a pistol, Mr. Castile said, “Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me.”

Within seconds, Officer Yanez, of the St. Anthony police, had shouted, “Don’t pull it out,” and Mr. Castile and his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, tried to assure him that he was not grabbing the gun. But Officer Yanez quickly fired seven rounds, fatally wounding Mr. Castile just 62 seconds after the traffic stop began. An instant later, Mr. Castile moaned and said, “I wasn’t reaching for it.”

“His dying words were in protest that he wasn’t reaching for his gun,” Mr. Choi said.More...
UPDATE 4 May 2017:
Federal Officials announced the closing of their investigation yesterday without filing any charges against the Police. You can read the US Department of Justice press release here.

UPDATE 16 June 16, 2017:  The New York Times is reporting,
Minnesota Officer Acquitted in Killing of Philando Castile

By Mitch Smith
16 June 2017
ST. PAUL — A Minnesota police officer, whose fatal shooting of a black motorist transfixed the nation when his girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath, was acquitted of all charges on Friday.

The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, had been charged with second-degree manslaughter and endangering safety by discharging a firearm in the shooting of Philando Castile.

After the verdict, jurors and Mr. Yanez were quickly led out of the courtroom, and Mr. Castile’s family left immediately. When a deputy tried to stop his mother, Valerie, she yelled “Let me go.”
Later, she said: “My son loved this city, and this city killed my son. And a murderer gets away. Are you kidding me right now?”

Before the trial it could be said that Philando Castile was murdered by a cop. After the trial it can be said that Philando Castile was murdered by the state.

After the shooting there were many who disputed the claim that Philando Castile had a permit to carry they weapon. We now know what the facts are, as reported by the Chicago Tribune:
A letter from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office confirms Castile, 32, got his permit last year. The letter, dated June 4, 2015, says Castile's permit is enclosed. It also says that he must have his permit card and photo identification when carrying a pistol, and must display those items "upon lawful demand by a peace officer."

Allysza Castile said she and her brother took a required gun safety class together last year.
After the trial, they released some important videos:

Police Dashcam Footage Of Philando Castile Fatal Shooting

David French, writing in the National Review, gives us a transcript to match the video and titled his piece:
The Philando Castile Verdict Was a Miscarriage of Justice

17 June 2017
Yesterday, a Minnesota jury acquitted St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer Jeronimo Yanez of second-degree manslaughter charges in the shooting of Philando Castile. In considering the rightness of the verdict, pay close attention to the transcript of the fatal encounter. Here it is, via CNN:
9:05:00 p.m. — Castile’s vehicle came to a complete stop.

9:05:15 – 9:05:22 p.m. — Yanez approached Castile’s car on the driver’s side.

9:05:22 – 9:05:38 p.m. — Yanez exchanged greetings with Castile and told him of the brake light problem.

9:05:33 p.m. — St. Anthony Police Officer Joseph Kauser, who had arrived as backup, approached Castile’s car on the passenger’s side.

9:05:38 p.m. — Yanez asked for Castile’s driver’s license and proof of insurance.

9:05:48 p.m. — Castile provided Yanez with his proof of insurance card.

9:05:49 – 9:05:52 p.m. — Yanez looked at Castile’s insurance information and then tucked the card in his pocket.

9:05:52 – 9:05:55 p.m. — Castile told Yanez: “Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me.” Before Castile completed the sentence, Yanez interrupted and replied, “Okay” and placed his right hand on the holster of his gun.

9:05:55 – 9:06:02 p.m. — Yanez said “Okay, don’t reach for it, then.” Castile responded: “I’m… I’m … [inaudible] reaching…,” before being again interrupted by Yanez, who said “Don’t pull it out.” Castile responded, “I’m not pulling it out,” and Reynolds said, “He’s not pulling it out.” Yanez screamed: “Don’t pull it out,” and pulled his gun with his right hand. Yanez fired seven shots in the direction of Castile in rapid succession. The seventh shot was fired at

9:06:02 p.m. Kauser did not touch or remove his gun.

9:06:03 – 9:06:04 p.m. — Reynolds yelled, “You just killed my boyfriend!”

9:06:04 – 9:06:05 p.m. — Castile moaned and said, “I wasn’t reaching for it.” These were his last words.

9:06:05 – 9:06:09 p.m. — Reynolds said “He wasn’t reaching for it.” Before she completed her sentence, Yanez screamed “Don’t pull it out!” Reynolds responded. “He wasn’t.” Yanez yelled, “Don’t move! F***!”
If you read carefully, you’ll note that it appears that the officer shot Castile for doing exactly what the officer told him to do. Yanez asked for Castile’s license. Castile told him that he had a gun, and the officer – rather than asking for his carry permit, or asking where the gun was, or asking to see Castile’s hands – just says, “Don’t reach for it then." More...
This New York Times piece gives us a critique of the dash cam video from a few police experts:
Experts Weigh In on Video of Philando Castile Shooting

By Julie Bosman and Mitch Smith
21 June 2017
The police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile along a Minnesota road was acquitted of all charges last week, but newly released video of what happened that day has opened new debate over the case and how a seemingly routine traffic stop so abruptly turned deadly.

We asked experts in the law, police procedures and officer training to view the dashboard camera video of the encounter between Officer Jeronimo Yanez and Mr. Castile: an episode that lasted only seconds. They offered their takes on what they saw, frame by frame. More...
Here are my comments on this traffic stop:

From the video we can see that Castile was completely compliant from the beginning. His left and right brake lights go on seconds after the flashing police light is seen and he has pulled to the side of the road and comes to a complete stop within 18 sec. of the start of the video. The two brake lights go off @ 28 sec., presumably because Castile stopped pushing the pedal down.

The NY Times reports:
Officer Yanez radios to a colleague that Mr. Castile, a driver inside a car he has followed, matches the description of a robbery suspect from several days earlier
but in the video we can clearly hear Yanez say to Castile @ 39 sec:
Hello sir, ...The reason I pulled you over,  your brake lights are out. You only have one activated, active brake light, and that could be on your passenger side one, your third brake light, which that here on the top, and this one back here [pointing to the driver side] is going to be out. [why the future tense?- Clay] You have your licence and insurance?
We can see with our own eyes that Yanez is wrong about the brake lights, although the center high brake light never comes on, we can see the right and left brake lights come on 6 @ sec and go off @ 28 sec. Before the brake lights come on, the right tail light appears to be much brighter than the left one. That may be a bad bulb or a result of the angle of the sun at the time, but Yanez made no mention of tail lights. What is clear is that the left brake light that Yanez said "is going to be out," was not out at the time of the stop.

That Yanez was lying when he said he pulled over Castile because he looked like a robbery suspect. We know that because this killer, who would latter claim to "fear for his life" took none of the safety measures mandated for a felony stop. We also know he was lying about the brake lights - unless he intended to make a prediction come true. The reason he told two lies about the reason for the stop was to cover the real reason. He pulled Philando Castile over to mess with an African American man.

@ 1:12 into the video we can see that Yanez hadn't just "placed his right hand on the holster of his gun," he was already starting to pull it from the holster, by 1:15 he is taking aim and is firing shots by @ 1:16. Within 4 seconds of Castile telling Yanez, that he was armed that the 2nd Police Commandment against African Americans with guns kicked in and he proceeded to murder Castile, yelling "Don't pull it out" most loudly after he had already put two bullets in his heart.

In the comments to this YouTube video barktreebranch31 noted:
At 2:42 the cop says "I told him not to reach for it, I told him to keep his hands up." If you go back and watch it, the cop never said to put his hands up at all... what a lying bastard
And comments such as this show that there are those who see it as a racist murder and approved of it as such:
Ragnar Loðbrók5: Pink Panther Uhhhh U salty bruh. Don't care, the police officer was in the right. He wasn't convicted. Joke's on u

Jeremy Stahl noted in The Slatest that Philando Castile’s Killer Acquitted Despite Forensics That Contradicted His Case:
Castile had informed the officer that he was carrying a firearm, for which he had a permit. Shortly thereafter, Yanez opened fire. In his opening statement, Yanez’s defense attorney claimed that Castile was holding his gun when he was shot.

“He has his hand on the gun,” Engh reportedly said during opening arguments. “The next command is, ‘Don’t pull it out.’ … [Yanez] can’t retreat … But for Mr. Castile’s continuous grip on the handgun, we would not be here.”

The prosecution argued that the 32-year-old school cafeteria supervisor with no violent criminal record was reaching for his driver’s license—as Yanez had instructed—and not his gun when he was shot. The forensic evidence and Reynold’s testimony would both seem to back up the prosecution’s account and rebut the defense’s version. Reynolds testified that he was trying to unbuckle his seatbelt so that he could get out his wallet and driver’s license when he was shot. As the Associated Press reported, this was supported by forensics:
Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen highlighted autopsy evidence in his closing argument, reminding the jury of a bullet wound to what would have been Castile’s trigger finger — and that there was no corresponding bullet damage nor wounds in the area of Castile’s right shorts pocket, where he carried his gun. He also cited testimony from first responders who saw Castile’s gun in his pocket as he was loaded onto a backboard
The jury—which included ten white jurors and two black jurors—took 27 hours to deliberate and asked to review dashcam footage of the incident along with Reynolds’ harrowing cell phone video.
Fox News ran Black gun owners worried by acquittal in officer-involved shooting, about the message this murder trial sent - there are no 2nd amendment rights for African Americans.
During the stop, Castile volunteered, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me."

Yanez told Castile, "OK, don't reach for it then" and "Don't pull it out."

On the squad-car video, Castile can be heard saying, "I'm not pulling it out," as Yanez opened fire. Prosecutors said Castile's last words were, "I wasn't reaching for it."

The verdict "tells African-Americans across the country that they can be killed by police officers with impunity, even when they are following the law," said Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat who is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The verdict also tells blacks that "the Second Amendment does not apply to them" because Castile "was honest with the officer about having a weapon in the car, and there is no evidence that he attempted to or intended to use the weapon against the officer," the Louisiana Democrat said.

Heartbreaking Video Of Diamond Reynolds’ 4-YEAR-OLD Daughter after Philando Castile Shooting

This piece, republished by Yahoo News, asks a very good question:
If Philando Castile Was Legally Carrying a Gun, Why Has the NRA REMAINED Silent?

by Perri Konecky
21 June 2017
On Friday, June 16, a jury declared former Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty for the shooting and killing of 32-year-old Philando Castile. Last year, Castile was pulled over with his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter in the car for a broken taillight. He told the officer he was a licensed gun owner and had his weapon on him, yet when he was reaching for his wallet, Castile was fatally shot by the officer. During a recent segment of "Ain't Nobody Got Time For That" on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, Noah points out why it's so bizarre that the National Rifle Association has remained silent following the verdict.

"Philando Castile wasn't just a man shot at a traffic stop," Noah said. "He was a legal gun owner whose family was in the car and who had committed no crime. At all."

Noah explains that "you would expect [the NRA] to be losing their goddamn minds about this," because "according to their rhetoric, this is everything that they stand against, right? An officer of the state depriving a citizen of his life because he was legally carrying a firearm?"

He then showed a 2014 clip of the NRA's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, adamantly defending the right for individuals to protect themselves with guns. But, for some mysterious reason, the group has remained silent since Yanez's verdict was announced. In Noah's opinion, it's no mystery - it's about race.

"It's interesting how the people who define themselves by one fundamental American right - the right to bear arms - show that once race is involved, the only right that they believe in is their right to remain silent," Noah said. More...

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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  1. Do you realize how stupid you sound by repeating the obvious LIES of Reynolds the GF of the deceased Philando Castile?
    She has every right to LIE if she pleases, but look what it lead to the STUPID VAPID MORONS repeating her BULLSHIT ----

    FIVE DEAD HERO POLICE OFFICERS ambushed, shot in the back by a sniper.

    Reynolds obviously is LYING: She says the cop was told Philando had a GUN on him and then asks for I.D. = nonsense.
    The cop in fact would immediately bark "HANDS ON THE WHEEL - NOW!"
    while of course drawing his weapon until the gun on that idiot Castile could be secured.

    Sterling was a repeat FELON out of prison on an earlier conviction for carrying a loaded GUN as a FELON - that got him 5 years and he also was combative forcing the cops to take him down then in 2009. He was arrested not for the gun, they didn't know he had it until handcuffed.
    His long RAP SHEET should list why he was arrested. Most recently in trouble for refusing to comply with his Sex Offender requirements.
    He was a dangerous man and politicians like Obama only fed the ignorant knee-jerk reaction to videos recklessly released immediately.

  2. So I'm stupid, probably also one of the STUPID VAPID MORONS responsible for the murder of FIVE DEAD HERO POLICE OFFICERS. That's your opinion of this post and you are entitled to it. But you aren't entitled to your own facts. Reynolds didn't put events in the same order you did. You misrepresent her story and then accuse her of LYING. Okay, but why do you call Castile an idiot? Is that why he was shot IYHO?

    Then you jump to Sterling. You admit that he was shot while hand-cuffed and you defend that by saying he was a dangerous man and dragging Obama into your narrative.

    It sounds like you think these two black men deserved to be murdered.

    You should seriously consider deleting your comment. It is an embarrassment to you.