Is Castile Case Another Nail In Race Relationships?

There are very few Americans who would say that race relations have gotten better over the past decade. In fact, harmony between the races is at an all time low, with mistrust and bad feelings on both sides of the fence. Only perpetrating the struggle are the endless scenarios involving African American men who die at the hands of the police.

It is difficult to convince anyone who watches the mainstream media that the shootings of late have nothing to do with the color of a man’s skin. In fact, the only publicized incidents where a man is shot by a policeman are the ones that involve African American men. The latest incident where a man, who was seemingly out for a drive with his mom and girlfriend, is only further adding fuel to an already ignited fire.

The lawyer for the officer being accused of murdering Philander Castile insists that his death has nothing to do with the fact that he is black. Being fatally shot in a small suburban town in Minneapolis early last week, the officer maintains that his reaction was not due to the racial profile of Castile, but to the actions surrounding the fateful night.

Philander Castile, 32, was stopped for what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop in the suburban town of Falcon Heights. Answering the call was an officer from the St. Anthony Police Department. Only further adding to the list, it was the second shooting of a black man for a routine stop in just one week, and compiling a year’s full of police mistrust in the African-American community.

The world has been stunned as they have witnessed the scenario, recorded by Castile’s fiancée after the shooting when it was uploaded to Facebook Live. Castile was a cafeteria supervisor without a record or any run-ins with the police on record. He was shot five times while he reached into his pocket to get the ID, which he was required to produce. On the video, it is clear that he informed and warned the police officer that he had a firearm and that he also had a license to conceal carry.

Jeronimo Yanez, the police officer, being accused of murder, has been placed on administrative leave by a Philadelphia workers compensation lawyer, as well as his partner Joseph Kauser. The shooting is currently being investigated, but it may be hard to override public opinion. No need for a jury to watch over the incident, it has been broadcast for the world to see. The lawyer representing Yanez maintains that he is not only cooperating with the investigation but is deeply saddened for the Castile family.

Yanez’s defense is that it was not Castile’s color that made him react. Instead, it was the presence of a gun. Repeating again for the cameras that it has nothing to do with the color of Castile’s skin, many have watched the video and find that very hard to believe.

Yanez, likewise has no history of abuse or discrimination, being on the force for only five years, he graduated from Minnesota State University in Mankato. A self-described Latino, it is likely that he has himself faced the sting of stereotyping. Graduating Cum Laude, alongside his partner in 2010, they both had very bright futures ahead of them.

Making the incident even that more newsworthy, is that it came just a day after Alton Sterling, an African-American man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who was killed by a policeman in a confrontation outside of a convenience store. A long summer of hard feelings and heated scenarios, the result, was the shooting of five policemen who were targeted due to their race by a man who subscribes to the rhetoric put forth by the Black Lives Matters organization. The most shocking part of what is going on in America is that there were so many who thought that, due to the election of the first African-American President, race differentials would become less not more and so severe.

Never seen on the news or Youtube are the many ways that the police save lives and work tirelessly to help communities. The only thing that makes the social media and media outlets are the times when things go awry, or there are suspicions of maltreatment. Only perpetrating the entire situation, unless we all decide to try to live together in peace, peace will never be attainable no matter what rules, regulations or officials are in charge.