The Curious Case of Philando Castile and the Little Voice in the Backseat:
By: Dr. Amy Singer and Kristina Denius, JD.
One of the more disturbing aspects of this case is the presence of the four year old child in the backseat of the vehicle being driven by Mr. Castile. This child, whose mother Diamond Reynolds was in the front passenger seat, witnessed Mr. Castile get shot by an officer of the law three to four times and bleed out and die right before her. Did Officer Yanez see the child before he fired the fatal shots? If he didn’t see the child, should he have seen her by looking in the backseat before firing? What is the police protocol in this situation? What should the police protocol be?
The child was physically unharmed, but what sort of lingering effects, emotionally and mentally, will this child carry with her for the rest of her life from having witnessed the carnage that unfolded before her? Is it ever okay to shoot into a vehicle when there are children present? Do you believe the child was in danger from a ricocheting errantly fired bullet? If she was does that matter?
What sort of effect will this have on this child’s trust and attitudes towards the police as she carries on with her life?
How does this case differ from that of Korynn Brown, a Baltimore woman who was shot dead on August 1, 2016 while simultaneously holding a shotgun and a five year old boy on her lap during an altercation with police? What effect should the presence of children have on police officer’s in their decision making of whether to shoot or not to shoot? Under what circumstances is the decision to shoot someone dead when there are innocents possibly in the crossfire, the right decision? Is it ever the right decision?
The most heartbreaking aspect of this case may be the little voice that can be heard on the video from the backseat of the car. Ms. Reynolds can be heard sobbing in the back of the car with her daughter.
“It’s OK … I’m right here with you,” the little girl said, apparently trying to comfort her mother.
Is anything ever really going to be OK again for anyone involved in this story?