A disturbing video, purportedly shot by a black couple driving in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights, was posted to Facebook Wednesday night.
If the events depicted in the video are accurate, they are among the most upsetting depictions of police violence against civilians captured to date.
The 10-minute clip, posted by a Facebook user named Lavish Reynolds, shows a woman in the passenger seat of a parked car. She does the filming, and begins narrating her version of what transpired, frequently moving the phone camera over to show the man in the driver's seat.
His white shirt is stained with blood, and he roils in apparent agony as she speaks. The passenger, his girlfriend, will say later that he'd been hit with four shots.
"We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back," she says. "And the police just — he's covered — they just killed my boyfriend."
The woman says her boyfriend had a license to carry a firearm, and was trying to inform the officer that he was armed.
"He was reaching for his wallet," she says into the phone, "and the officer just shot him in his arm."
At that moment, what looks like a police officer off-screen screams at the woman to keep her hands where they are.
In a panicked voice, the officer tries to tell his side of the story.
"Fuck! I told him not to reach for it!" says the officer, his handgun still trained on the bleeding passenger. "I told him to keep his hand open!"
Calmly, the woman says, "You told him to get his ID sir, and his license."
The shooting victim's breathing becomes more labored, and he's stopped shouting the expletives he was just a minute before.
"Oh my God," she says. "Please don't tell me my boyfriend is dead."
At the command of police, she exits the car, asking about the whereabouts of her daughter. A moment later, a child's voice is heard crying. While the woman's phone is set on the ground, she is placed in handcuffs.
"Please, no! Don't let him be gone, Lord!"
The woman repeats her side of the story several times, and remains consistent throughout: Her boyfriend was only trying to comply with the officer's orders; he had told the cop he was licensed to carry the pistol in his possession; and that a non-threatening hand movement led to his being shot.
The St. Anthony Police Department responded to the incident through a press conference Wednesday night, with Sgt. Jon Mangseth, the city's interim police chief, speaking to members of the media, and saying his knowledge was limited.
"I do not know anything about the Facebook videos at this time," Mangseth said. "I haven't seen the video."
Mangseth adds that the shooting is "shocking," and "not something that occurs in this area often."
Details about the identity of the man shot, or his condition, were not made public at that time.
We'll continue to update this post as more information becomes available.
UPDATE: According to WCCO reporter Jennifer Mayerle, the victim, 32-year-old Philando Castile, has died from wounds he suffered in the shooting. A Facebook profile matching that name and image describes Castile as a former student at the University of Minnesota.
The profile indicates Castile now works as an employee of the University; an employee roster sheet published online lists Castile as working as a cafeteria supervisor for J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet school under the St. Paul Public Schools system.
SECOND UPDATE: Hundreds of people gathered at the Governor's Residence last night with banners, candles, and megaphones to protest the shooting death of Philando Castile. Governor Dayton did not make an appearance at the demonstration and canceled a previously scheduled 10 a.m. press conference on an unrelated issue. As of 8 a.m. Thursday, he had yet to make a statement on the Castile shooting.
Correction: This post originally referred to Philando Castile as the passenger in the car, and the woman videotaping as the driver. The video is a mirrored view of the scene, making it appear as if Castile is seated on the passenger's side, when in fact he was driving at the time.