Gun Rights, Police Brutality and the Case of the Century (Video)
Late Wednesday night, Philandro Castile, 32, was murdered by the St. Anthony Police Department in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, after having been pulled over at a routine traffic stop. His girlfriend, Lavish Reynolds, began livestreaming Castile’s death after witnessing the gruesome act from inside the car. “He pulled over for a busted tailight,” she says in the video.
“He’s licensed to carry,” she continues. “He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out of his pocket, and he let the officer know that he had a firearm and was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm. He just shot his arm off.” Despite their ardent advocacy for concealed-carry permits, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has failed to comment on the Castile case, one of 600+ cases of police brutality just this year.
According to “Mapping Police Violence,” “Nearly 1 in 3 black people killed by police in 2015 were identified as unarmed,” which points to a majority of those killed by police having guns.
The pro-gun association and the Republican Party nearly exclusively advocate for white gun owners, and have since the 1960s when the issue began to escalate.
“The Black Panther Party calls upon the American people in general and the black people in particular, to take careful note of the racist California legislature, which is now considering legislation aimed at keeping the black people disarmed and powerless, and at the very same time, racist police agencies throughout the country are intensifying the terror, brutality, murder, and repression of black people,” Bobby Searle, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, said in 1967, the same year the Black Panthers invaded the California State capital building to exercise their Second Amendment right.
Nearly 50 years later, that statement rings true.
The “Panthers Bill,” which passed after the Panthers’ May 2 demonstration, was supported heavily by the NRA and then-California Governor Ronald Reagan.
Later that year, co-founder of the Black Panther Party Huey Newton was pulled over by Oakland Police Department officer John Frey. After calling for backup, Frey pushed Newton down on the street. Newton insisted that the officer had no reasonable cause to arrest him. Frey responded by punching Newton and then shot him in the stomach. Newton testified that he did not remember much after that, including the murder of Frey. Newton was ultimately sentenced to 2 to 15 years in prison.
On the Black Panthers, People v. Newton stated:
"The group is dedicated to ending police brutality against African-Americans through organizing African-American defense groups. Because of this, the case received much pre-trial publicity. Newton’s attorney is therefore concerned about securing an impartial jury. He extensively questions the potential jurors about whether they have already formed an opinion as to Newton’s guilt or innocence."