Several dozen people gathered Saturday in Falcon Heights to unveil what they called a “pop-up memorial” for Philando Castile, a black man fatally shot by a St. Anthony police officer last summer.
On one side, the polished wooden memorial reads: “Philando Divall Castile, July 16, 1983-July 6, 2016,” with a quote from his mother, Valerie Castile: “Hon, you never talked much here. But you’re making a lot of noise now, Baby!”
The other side bears a quote from Nelson Mandela: “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
It was set up at Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street, where Castile was shot July 6 by officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop. Yanez has been charged with manslaughter.
The sculpture was created by architect Kate Lindgren. The engraving was coordinated by Christine Baeumler, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota.
Paula Mielke, a Falcon Heights resident who helped organize Saturday’s event, said she wants the city to erect a more permanent memorial.
“My son was an amazing human being. … He was the type of person that was caring, loving, sharing and giving,” Valerie Castile told the gathering. “He lost his life to show us the injustice that happens when you’re not looking.”
John Thompson, a friend of Castile, decried a bill recently introduced in the Legislature that advocates charging protesters for police response costs.
“I never knew I had this type of fight in me,” Thompson said. “To my friend Philando, I want to thank you for putting the fire under me.”