Posted: 07/09/16 16:58
by Dave Mindeman
The officer who shot Philando Castile is offering this explanation through his attorney....
A suburban Minnesota police officer who killed a black driver reacted to the man's gun, not his race, his attorney said Saturday, giving the most detailed account so far of why the officer drew his own weapon.
So far, there is no evidence that Castile pulled his weapon. His girlfriend said he let the officer know that he had a permit to carry and that he was reaching for his registration.
Let's assume that the gun was the factor, not Castile's race, and run with that.
Minnesota has a growing number of permit to carry licenses. The training for these weapons states that when stopped by a police officer, you should let him know immediately that you have a weapon and a permit.
That is what Castile did. The officer says he reacted to seeing the gun. It would be interesting to know if he has encountered other people with permits when conducting a traffic stop.
Because we have a number of people with permits, I would guess that this officer has had an encounter like this before and if the person was white, I suspect that his reaction would have been much calmer.
I don't know if this officer has racist tendencies - frankly, I would guess that he considers himself not to be a racist. And maybe in broad terms he isn't. But I suspect that there is an underlying assumption that a black person with a gun must be treated differently than a white person with a gun.
Again, I do not think this is intentional. It is just an inherent police bias that has developed over time. Whether or not it is justified (and it isn't), that perception has to change.
I don't have an answer for that, but the first step is to recognize that it exists. That alone may alter that instant reaction.
A reaction that seems to be so deadly.