Friends, family and community members remembered Philando Castile, a 32-year-old St. Paul school cafeteria supervisor who was gunned down by police during a traffic stop last week. They gathered at J. J. Hill Montessori School Thursday to talk about his life, the tragedy of how he died and what needs to be done to prevent deaths like this in the future.
“This is a show of love for this young man who was only here for 30-odd years, but he made a stand, he made an impact,” said Caddy, “The Prince of Darkness,” who was covering Castile’s funeral for KMOJ radio. “If you see all the people who have come to express their love and their sorrow that he is not here anymore, you’ll understand the love that this young man has.”
Castile was another black man who had been killed by police. “I’m really tired of it,” said Ashley Williamson, who called for black unity to oppose police violence “and stop killing each other first.”
“The courts have given the officers too much power and sometimes they overreact,” said Charles Belcher. “We should be protesting at the court house…to have these laws changed.”
“We’re talking about a guy who had license, not only to carry (a weapon), but also in the educational world,” said Donzeal Epps. “We lost somebody who mattered.”
“It’s like the powers that be don’t want us to grow up to be presidents of the United States, presidents of corporations, doctors, lawyers — things that will make a difference in the world,” said Caddy.
Echoing what President Obama said earlier in the week, Abraham Lincoln Reese Jr. sees the problem not as police versus the community. He supports both the police and the community. “Why can’t we we get together and love each other, help each other, reach out for each other? Let’s love one another. It’s time for us to stop this killing. It’s time for us to start loving.”