Authorities are investigating the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile during a traffic stop on Wednesday evening in Falcon Heights. Here’s what we don’t know.
•Why was Castile stopped by police?
Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, said they were told when Officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled them over it was because of a broken light, but she said the lights worked fine. A Star Tribune reporter at the scene soon after the shooting said the headlights were both working.
• Did the officer ask him to get his wallet or not to reach for his gun?
Reynolds said Castile was reaching for his wallet to get his ID when he was shot. The actual order happens before her live Facebook video of the incident. The transcript of the video recounts the exchange between Yanez and Reynolds.
Officer: “F---! I told him not to reach for it, I told him to get his hand out.”
Reynolds: “You told him to get his ID sir, his driver’s license. Oh my God, please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.”
Officer: “Keep your hands where they are!”
• Why did the officer fire multiple times?
Reynolds said Yanez shot her boyfriend four or five times.
• Is there a police dashcam video of the shooting?
St. Anthony squad cars are equipped with dashcams but it’s unclear if video was captured in this incident.
• Why was Reynolds handcuffed after the shooting?
According the video transcript, Reynolds was told to exit the car with her hands up, walk backward until she was ordered to her knees and handcuffed. Her 4-year-old daughter was nearby.
“Ma’am, you’re just being detained right now until we get this all sorted out, OK?” an officer told her as she was on the ground.
• Will a grand jury be convened to determine whether the police officer’s use of deadly force was necessary to protect him or others from apparent death or great bodily harm?
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said Friday he hasn’t decided whether he or a grand jury will decide whether charges will be brought against the officer. The Ramsey County Attorney’s office has traditionally used a grand jury in these cases. Last March, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman took the nearly unprecedented move of eliminating the long-standing use of a grand jury in police-involved shootings. Activists had pushed Freeman not to use the grand jury after Jamar Clark was fatally shot by Minneapolis Police last fall. Grand jury proceedings are private, and the activists wanted more transparency.