Before a grieving, angry crowd that demanded justice for Philando Castile’s shooting death by a St. Anthony police officer, a tearful yet composed Diamond Reynolds recounted the moments before and after a nation watched her boyfriend take his final breaths.
Reynolds, who calmly live-streamed the incident shortly after Castile was shot, spent much of Thursday morning narrating what she witnessed, as well as what came before the video and the hours that followed.
Reynolds told the throngs of protesters clustered outside the governor’s residence in St. Paul that Castile had just come home from work and had picked up her and her daughter after leaving his mother’s house.
During their drive, they were pulled over by police for what officers told them was a “broken headlight,” she said during Thursday’s news conference.
Castile and Reynolds told the officers, she said, that they weren’t aware of it being broken.
When asked for his license and registration, Castile informed officers that he had a gun and a permit to carry it, Reynolds said, adding that he always kept his wallet in his back pocket.
The officer then repeated, “Don’t move, don’t move,” before firing multiple shots at Castile, she said.
“How can one man put his hands in the air and reach for identification at the same time?” she asked the crowd.
Reynolds continued filming as they removed her and her daughter from the car before tending to Castile. It took about 15 minutes for paramedics to arrive, she said.
“They did not check for a pulse at the scene of the crime,” she said. “They did not make sure that he was breathing.”
Reynolds described the officer who shot Castile as “very frantic” and “very nervous.”
She said other officers comforted the crying officer and that she heard the officer who fired his weapon say, “Oh my god, I can’t believe this.”
Reynolds then described being handcuffed and said that her phone was taken away from her.
“I was treated like a criminal,” she said. “I was treated like I was the one who did this.”
She was then taken into custody for questioning, she said, where she “kept begging” for her phone. She was worried her video had been taken down by police, she said.
“I was not able to get the actual shooting because I did not want that horrible act to be on social media,” she said. “I just wanted the truth.”
Reynolds said police dropped her off at her home at 5 a.m.
Reynolds ended by emphasizing the community’s shared grief over losing Castile, who served cafeteria food to students at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul.
“He was loving. He was caring. He stayed home, he went to work, and he took care of his business,” she said. “So for a police officer to come about and take this man away is unreal.”