Philando Castile’s Mother: In What Country Will Telling the Truth Get You Killed?
On Thursday, a week after Philando Castile was murdered by a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, his body was laid to rest.
Thousands attended Castile's funeral, which was open to the public; among them, friends and family of the Castiles, as well as current students at the Montessori School where Philando Castile had worked.
Catholic priest Rev. John Ubel as well as Rev. Dr. Steve Daniels Jr. from Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church spoke on Castile's behalf.
"We have the death of an innocent black man whose life was taken at the hands of an officer due to his wide-set nose," said Daniels. "Racially profiled, pulled over for a broken taillight, shot multiple times next to his fiancÃ©e and her 4-year-old daughter. Thank God that they were not struck by some of those bullets."
Philando's mother, Valerie Castile, sought to limit references to her son's tragic death during his funeral, and had asked that the event be a time for "peace and reconciliation" in the announcement.
However, during a press conference earlier this week, she made a statement about American police.
"You guys want to ask questions; I have one question myself," Valerie Castile said at a press conference Tuesday held at the Minnesota State Capitol.
“In what country [is it] that being honest and telling the truth will get you killed? You answer that one for me," she told the audience.
"By the numbers: U.S. police kill more in days than other countries do in years," read a headline in the Guardian just over a year ago. "It is undeniable that police in the U.S. often contend with much more violent situations and more heavily armed individuals than police in other developed democratic societies… America is the outlier—and this is what a crisis looks like," the Guardian reported.
Before being shot, Philando Castile told officers he was legally armed; because of which, concealed carry will be a key factor in the upcoming investigation.
"I used to look at TV and see other parents under these same circumstances and say, ‘Wow. I hope that would never happen to me. But it has. And now I have a voice," Valerie Castile said.