The mother of Philando Castile, the Minnesota black man whose killing by police on Wednesday was live streamed, is speaking out about his death. Valerie Castile appeared on CNN this morning with Clarence Castile, Philando's uncle, and said she had previously spoken to Philando about how to survive being stopped by the police.
The viral video of the shooting recorded by Philando's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, shows her saying that Philando was stopped by police for a broken tail light and was sitting in his car, reaching in his pocket for his ID when police shot at him multiple times. She said he had a gun on him but told the officer about the weapon and also had a permit to carry a gun in the state.
In the CNN interview, Valerie explained her son's death by saying, "I think he was just black in the wrong place." Clarence responded, "That might be true but he had permission to carry firearm in this state; from what I understand, he told them he had a firearm."
"I'm sure he did because that was something we always discussed: comply. That's the key thing, the key thing in order to try to survive being stopped by the police is to comply. Whatever they ask you to do, do it. Don't say nothing, just do whatever they want you to do. So what's the difference in complying and you get killed anyway?"
Valerie's comments paint a larger, heartbreaking story of mothers of colour who have to teach their children that in order to live another day, they must not even speak in order to defend themselves against police. That their lives are threatened by the very people who are supposed to protect them. That because of their skin colour, they must go through life with a disadvantage that could start out as a normal car ride with the people they love and end with them slumped over in the seat, blood soaking through their white t-shirt.