There are two sides to every story, and what the media initially reported about the officer-involved shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota failed to give a complete picture.
The aftermath of Castile’s shooting was recorded in a heartbreaking video by his girlfriend Lavish Reynolds, who live streamed it to Facebook. Even more disturbing, her four-year-old child was in the back seat. Millions viewed the footage, sparking national outrage. In the video, Reynolds remains extremely calm and composed. She tells us they were stopped over a broken taillight, and that Castile was shot while trying to retrieve an ID from his wallet after telling the officer he had a concealed carry permit — and a firearm in the car.
According to Alpha News however, Castile wasn’t stopped over a taillight – and he didn’t have a concealed carry permit.
This narrative, perpetuated by Reynolds, is the narrative the media, protesters and politicians are using to dominate the conversation about the shooting and its this narrative that is overshadowing the real reason officers stopped Castile in Falcon Heights on Wednesday night, and were on high alert.
On July 5, 2016, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) released the following post on the department’s FacebookThe armed robbery happened just a few blocks from where officers stopped Castile. According to a report by KARE11.com, a viewer sent in a recording of police scanner activity the night of the shooting, in which the officers say:
>>>>>“I’m going to stop a car,” the officer says on the recording. “I’m going to check IDs. I have reason to pull it over.”
>>>>>“The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery,” the officer says. “The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide set nose,” the officer continues.
About 90 seconds later, the officers report a shooting had taken place and requested an ambulance for Castile.
Castile’s girlfriend, Lavish Reynolds, claims in the video that Castile had a Permit to Carry a firearm. ConservativeTreehouse.com is reporting that they contacted the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office and questioned whether they had issued a Conceal Carry Permit to Castile:
None of this information is presented to justify the tragedy. However, the viral video that sparked outrage didn’t tell us what happened – it showed us the aftermath, and only one side of the story. Our brains all have a form of narrative bias where we fill in the blanks surrounding an event for which we don’t have information.
It’s also possible Castile isn’t the suspect pictured in the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s Facebook – but it’s no mystery why a police officer would be on edge as the one who stopped Castile when he believed he may have stopped an armed robber.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]