Philando Castile’s mother says her slain son was given the same lecture so many black people in America hear at one point in their lives: To avoid potentially fatal encounters with police, you need to do what they say.
"That was something we always discussed. Comply," Valerie Castile told CNN on Thursday morning. "That’s the key thing in order to try to survive being stopped by the police is to comply. Whatever they ask you to do, do it. Don’t say nothing. Just do what they want you to do. So what’s the difference in complying, and they kill you anyway."
Castile was pulled over by a police officer Wednesday evening with his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds in the car and her young daughter in the back seat. According to Reynolds' account, Castile reached for his driver’s license, after reportedly letting an officer know he had a legal gun. (Castile had a concealed carry permit, according to family.) An officer then allegedly opened fire.
Watch: Diamond Reynolds on the shooting of Philando Castile
In the video of the aftermath Reynolds posted on Facebook, the officer can be heard saying "I told him not to reach for it, I told him to get his hand out."
"You told him to get his ID, sir — his driver’s license," Reynolds replied to him. "Oh, my God. Please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that."
Castile died later at the Hennepin County Medical Center. He was 32.
His mother recounted the day of the shooting, which was the last time she saw him alive. She recalled the conversation between her son and daughter earlier, which ended up eerily foreshadowing Castile’s fate that evening.
"[H]im and his sister ... had a conversation about the conceal to carry permits that they both have, and they were saying, you know, to be cautious. And my daughter said, ‘You know what? I really don’t even want to carry my gun because I’m afraid they’ll shoot me first and then ask questions later,’" Castile said.