Shooting of Sterling and Castile ignites flame in push for judicial reform

By MiNDFOOD

Marques Armstrong chants in support of Philando Castile, who was fatally shot by Minneapolis area police during a traffic stop on Wednesday, at a "Black Lives Matter" demonstration, in front of the Governor's Mansion in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S., July 7, 2016.  REUTERS/Eric Miller
Marques Armstrong chants in support of Philando Castile, who was fatally shot by Minneapolis area police during a traffic stop on Wednesday, at a "Black Lives Matter" demonstration, in front of the Governor's Mansion in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S., July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Miller
The Minnesota Governor has labelled the shooting of Philando Castile a racist act, as Beyoncé calls upon fans to appeal to congress for social and judicial reform.

In response to the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile, the Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, has called for a full departmental investigation.

He stated that “this kind of racism exists” and that he believes the force used by the officer would not have occurred “if those passengers…were white.”

“Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passengers were white?” Dayton asked the audience. “I don’t think it would have”.

The girlfriend of Philando Castile, who was in the car with her young daughter, pleeded with the governor to ensure that full justice was served, after what she labelled as a heinously unwarranted act.

According to TIME, Diamond Reynolds told press that the car was pulled over for a broken taillight. The officer then asked Castile for his license and registration, after they were all asked to “put their hands in the air”. Calm and collected, Castile reportedly told the officer that he was carrying a weapon which he was licensed for. The police officer then opened fire, fatally shooting Castile in front of his girlfriend and her young daughter.

“My daughter will be forever scarred by what the police at Falcon Heights did to us for no apparent reason,” she told the crowd.

“They took my lifeblood. That was my best friend. I don’t have any family in Minnesota. I don’t have nobody,” she later added, crying. “I never got to say my last words to that man.”

Reynolds said that she would not sleep until justice was served: “I need justice. And even after justice, this will never go away.”

In Dayton’s statement he told media that there was “every indication” that the decision made by the officer in question was “way in excess of what the situation called for.”

“My sense of outrage for what occurred is very real,” said Dayton. “Nobody should be shot and killed in Minnesota for a taillight being out of function.”

Shooting sparks protests

The murder of Castile comes just days after Alton Sterling was filmed being shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sterling’s death sparked protests in Baton Rouge after a graphic video showed officers appearing to tackle the 37-year-old man to the floor in an attempt to restrain him. Off camera you hear “He’s got a gun!” followed by a series of gunshots and a woman sobbing.

The graphic video has been shared across social media and the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.

The Beyhive responds

In response to the recent shootings, Beyoncé released an open letter calling for a nation as a whole to stand up and make those in power accountable for their actions.

“These robberies of lives make us feel helpless and hopeless but we have to believe that we are fighting for the rights of the next generation, for the next young men and women who believe in good,” Beyoncé wrote.

She stated that this fight must go beyond race and be felt as a “human fight”.

“This is a human fight. No matter your race, gender or sexual orientation. This is a fight for anyone who feels marginalised, who is struggling for freedom and human rights.”

She continued by adding that this was in no way indicative of the actions of all police officers, instead saying it was “toward any human being who fails to value life. The war on people of colour and all minorities needs to be over.”

She sent out a plea to her fans to channel their “anger and frustration into action”, calling for them to use their voices to contact their local politicians and legislators to demand “social and judicial changes.”

She included a link to the website where constituents can contact their local representatives and subsequently crashed the site with the amount of responses it was getting.

President Obama said that “all Americans should be deeply troubled” by the shootings.

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