Philando Castile Remembered As Kind And Caring In a Minneapolis suburb Wednesday night, 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop. Family and friends are in mourning.
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Philando Castile Remembered As Kind And Caring

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Philando Castile Remembered As Kind And Caring

Philando Castile Remembered As Kind And Caring

Philando Castile Remembered As Kind And Caring

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In a Minneapolis suburb Wednesday night, 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop. Family and friends are in mourning.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And, Rachel, that demonstration that was under way in Dallas was sparked by recent incidents in which African-American men were shot in encounters with police. On Tuesday in Baton Rouge, 37-year-old Alton Sterling was killed, and Wednesday night, 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop in a Twin City suburb. Brandt Williams of Minnesota Public Radio tells us more about the victim Philando Castile.

BRANDT WILLIAMS, BYLINE: Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, shared the moments after the shooting on Facebook. The next morning, Reynolds shared her feelings with hundreds of protesters who rallied outside the governor's mansion in St. Paul.

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DIAMOND REYNOLDS: Hi, everybody. I just want to thank y'all for being here today. I appreciate all of you guys' support.

WILLIAMS: Reynolds said Castile visited his mother after work and then came by to pick her up. They were stopped by a St. Anthony police officer, who Reynolds says pulled them over for a broken tail light. Reynolds says the officer shot Castile as he reached for his wallet. Still clearly shaken, Reynolds called for justice for a man she said was a kind person.

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REYNOLDS: Many of you guys' kids probably go to the school which he worked at.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, yes.

REYNOLDS: Many of you guys' kids knew this man. He was loving. He was caring.

WILLIAMS: Castile was a long-time employee for the Saint Paul Public Schools who most recently worked in the cafeteria at a Montessori school. Parents and co-workers say Castile often took time to greet every child who came to the lunchroom and even gave extra food to kids who needed it. Castile's cousin Antonio Johnson says Castile liked to play video games and didn't really go out much. Johnson started to choke up when he talked about a conversation he had with Castile's mother.

ANTONIO JOHNSON: I remember telling her, like, man, you did a good job with those kids. You know, being a single parent, you did a good job with those kids. You know, they went to school. My cousin just got her degree, and it's just - it's just not right. It's not right.

WILLIAMS: State court records show Castile had been stopped by police more than two dozen times since 2002. In more than a dozen incidents, Castile was charged for driving with a revoked license, which is a misdemeanor. He was never charged with any felonies. Governor Mark Dayton acknowledged that decades of complaints made by Minnesotans of color about racial profiling are hard to ignore.

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MARK DAYTON: Would this have happened if those passengers - the driver, the passenger - were white? I don't think it would have. So I'm forced to confront, and I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront, this kind of racism exists.

WILLIAMS: Family members also say they believe Castile was targeted because of his skin color. Johnson says Castile had a permit to carry a handgun but says the officer who shot him did not see a law-abiding citizen legally carrying a firearm that night.

JOHNSON: They treated him like a thug. And I know he's such a soft-spoken kid. He's non-confrontational. I've never seen him in a fight. I've never seen him in an argument. He just doesn't do that.

WILLIAMS: St. Anthony police declined to comment. The Department of Justice has announced it is monitoring the investigation into Castile's death. And a spokesman says the department is ready to step in to provide assistance as needed. For NPR News, I'm Brandt Williams in Minneapolis.

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