The girlfriend of Philando Castile, the black motorist who was killed by a Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop last year, said that she began livestreaming the widely seen aftermath of the shooting out of fear for her own life.
According to the Associated Press via CBS, Diamond Reynolds cried as squad-car footage, her own Facebook video and still images of Castile were shown in court Tuesday during the trial for the officer who killed Castile. She then described what made her pick up her phone and go live on Facebook, where millions of people would watch her horror unfold.
“Because I know that the people are not protected against the police,” Reynolds explained. “I wanted to make sure if I died in front of my daughter that people would know the truth.”
St. Anthony, Minn., Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, 29, is facing charges of manslaughter and dangerous discharge of a firearm in Castile’s death and the endangering of Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter, who was in the back seat of the vehicle at the time of the incident.
Castile, who was carrying a firearm for which he had a legal permit, informed the officer of his weapon while handing over his license and proof of insurance, authorities say. Within a minute of pulling Castile over, Yanez fired the fatal shots; the officer’s attorneys are arguing that he was reacting to the presence of the gun.
According to AP, defense attorney Earl Gray questioned Reynolds about her and Castile’s use of marijuana (though I’m not sure what that has to do with the case at hand, but maybe that’s why I’m not a lawyer). Reynolds reportedly acknowledged smoking regularly and acknowledged that marijuana was in the vehicle at the time Castile was pulled over for a broken taillight.
On Monday, opening statements in the trial centered on whether Yanez ever saw Castile’s gun.
Prosecutor Rick Dusterhoft said that Yanez could be heard on video in the aftermath of the shooting telling another officer that he did not know where the gun was, adding that no one saw the gun until paramedics found it in Castile’s pocket.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Paul Engh said that Castile ignored Yanez’s commands and reached for his gun. Engh said that Yanez will testify that he saw Castile’s hand on the grip, which then prompted Yanez to open fire because he believed that his life was in danger.
Read more at CBS News.