The girlfriend of the Minnesota man Philando Castile who was shot dead in a traffic stop last week, Diamond Reynolds is speaking out about the moments before she pulled out her camera and started filming.
Diamond Reynolds broke down in tears Monday morning, as she re-watched video she recorded of her boyfriend Philando Castile’s last moments after being shot by a police officer.
While she refused to go into details about what exactly occurred in the time between the officer pulling him over and the moment she started recording, the heartbroken Diamond Reynolds dispelled the idea that her boyfriend Philando Castile was reaching for his gun when Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot him.
‘No, absolutely not,’ Diamond Reynolds told Good Morning America, adding that the officer ‘never even asked if he was armed’.
When they were first pulled over, Reynolds say the officer told them that it was for broken tail-light something she says she later found out was working fine. Reynolds says her boyfriend told the officer straight out that he was legally carrying, and that he should have never been considered a threat.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for the officer who killed Philando Castile is pushing a different version of events. Tom Kelly told the Star Tribune on Sunday that Castile actually matched the description of a suspect wanted in a robbery a few days earlier, so he had more reason than just a traffic violation to pull the couple over.
‘All he had to have was reasonable suspicion to pull him over,’ Kelly said.
Kelly also claims that there is another video of the shooting that will further prove his client’s innocence.
However, a lawyer who has been helping Castile’s family in the aftermath of the shooting says the fact that Castile may have been a robbery suspect doesn’t help the officer’s case, since it only further proves he wasn’t following protocol.
Attorney Albert Goins says that if Castile had indeed been a suspect in a robbery, Officer Yanez would have needed to initiate a felony stop, which ‘involves bringing the suspect out at gunpoint while officers are in a position of cover and having them lie on the ground until they can identify who that individual is.’ ‘Either [Castile] was a robbery suspect and [Yanez] didn’t follow the procedures for a felony stop, or [Castile] was not a robbery suspect and [Yanez] shot a man because he stood at his window getting his information,’ Goins said.
In her interview on GMA Monday morning, Reynolds said she decided to start recording the aftermath of her boyfriend’s shooting because she knew that it would be her words against the officer’s, and that that might not be enough to prove her boyfriend’s innocence.
‘I knew people would choose sides and they wouldn’t see me as being the person who would be telling the truth,’ she said. ‘Because of that, I chose to in that moment record the immediate aftermath because I wasn’t able to record in the moment.’
In the video, Diamond Reynolds is remarkably calm as she explains how the officer shot her boyfriend – in front of her four-year-old daughter – as he was reaching to get his identification. Reynolds says she was able to stay so calm because she knew both her and her young daughter’s lives were on the line.
‘I was able to remain calm because I knew in the back of my mind that if anything was to alarm that officer, he could have possibly took me or even my daughter,’ she said.
More to come…