Solano Stories

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt Of A Man’s Death

Written By: Rex Solano - Jul• 11•16

While we deplored and mourned the death of Philando Castile as maliciously senseless, I do not see any reason to believe that the killing was racially motivated. This fatal incident was tempered with a gravitational misinterpretation of one’s action toward another. When Police Officer Geronimo Yanez, who is Latino, stopped the car of Philando Castile for a broken tail light, the standard operating procedure as I presumed duly performed by Yanez was to ask for the driver license, registration and proof of insurance. As an obedient and law-abiding motorist he would just simply comply. But here it was not so. Philando Castile opened with very alarming and involuntary words by allegedly telling Police Officer Yanez that he had a concealed weapon in his glove compartment and was licensed to carry it. Why Philando said that to Police Officer Yanez, we would never able to know. Maybe Lavish ‘Diamond’ Reynolds, a girlfriend of Philando, who was a passenger in the car, will shed light to this horrific tragedy, as she claimed that Philando was shot and killed for no apparent reason. Whether Miss Reynolds was telling the truth and stating the facts were even unfathomable and incomprehensible to believe. Yet, that is another tale-story to be expounded and investigated. For at any time, anyone who carries a concealed weapon whether you are white, black or Asian it is always a possible threat to others especially to a police officer where a motive and behavior of a person during a traffic stop needed to be evaluated, studied and addressed thoroughly. So many conflicting statements came out from this bizarre incident. It is all about misleading claims and unsupported speculations. As previously reported, a gun was spotted at the top of his right hip. Now according to Reynolds’ testimony, Philando was just about to grab his wallet in his back pocket. So what prompted Officer Yanez to shot Philando not once but four times, if it’s true as what Miss Reynolds claimed that Philando only tried to get his driver license? But a video footage took us to a very chilling account when we heard Police Officer Yanez yelling and telling Philando to keep his hands in the air. “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hands off it.” For me it was a defensive reaction on the part of Yanez to outdraw Philando first, just like a showdown in the movie “High Noon” where the quickest to pull the trigger, ultimately survived.

And so as I kept on reading the news, my personal reaction is to believe that the reason a black motorist was killed was not about race but a Police Officer reacted to what he thought was a very extremely dangerous situation when he displayed a gun and the unfortunate timing of Philando’s car being stopped when a July 2nd robbery at the convenient store in Lauderdale, Minnesota, fits the description of him as the suspect. But this I can accede to the fact that it might just be a mistaken identity as we would never go that far to believe that a 32 year old cafeteria supervisor would commit a crime robbing a convenient store by jeopardizing his image and reputation. This is simply a case of a black man in a wrong place. Because for what we knew and heard about Philando Castile, he was a team player who maintained great relationship with his staffs and student at the cafeteria where he worked. Philando was full of joy, always possessed that big smile and hug to his co-workers. It’s just so hard to believe that to meet his life in an unexpected circumstances was so lamentable, heartbreaking and regrettably unfortunate.

So many questions were asked. What happened if Philando Castile just acted as an obedient, courteous and a polite motorist complying with what the police officer was asked of him? Would there be any shooting? I do believe that Philando Castile would still be alive and be with us today, had he not acted so arrogant, by bragging to the Police Officer that he carried a licensed gun. Anytime we declare it openly, even though it is only a joke, like boarding a plane and telling TSA personnel that you carry a bomb, it has to be taken seriously. A busted tail light resulted in a death deemed so unnecessary and for me is a waste of someone else life.

We still can learn from this tragedy. Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile had never failed to tell her son that anytime he is involved in any traffic stop, do not do anything drastically. Just comply, comply, and comply. Her strong words of advice to her son probably will reverberate throughout the epicenter of America but she could never bring back the life of her son. She is still agonizing over the death of her son that she adored and loved so dearly, who died at the hands of those she thought would protect her son’s fundamental human rights.

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