Philando Castile Relief Foundation Sends Condolences to George Floyd’s Family

Minneapolis, Minnesota (May 30, 2020) – On the evening of July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was pulled over while driving in the Falcon Heights neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota, where her son’s murder was broadcasted live on Facebook for the world to see.  Valerie Castile is reliving this tragedy again with the murder of George Floyd, four years later.  Ms. Castile shares her deepest condolences and reflection in the statement below. 

“My name is Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile. I would like to take this time to express my Deepest, Deepest Sympathy, Condolences and Prayers to the Floyd family. My heart goes out to you, all of his friends and the community. What happened to George Floyd brought back awful memories Of The Horrific! Horrific Murder of Philando Castile and the Sadness my family suffered in 2016. His murder brought forth many emotions felt by the entire community and the world. As they watched a young man take his last breath to see an officer put over 200 lbs. of pressure on his neck as he said “I can’t breathe! You going to kill me!”  He continued sit on his neck with 200 lb. on him, until the life left his body.  Just when you think you’ve seen it all, to visually see this guy with his knee on this young man’s neck to see a man position himself by putting 200 lbs. of pressure on George’s neck, as he anchored his body and put his hands in his pockets.  At that time, he could have easily gotten up off of Mister Floyd.   He sat there and POSTURED as if he had won his trophy.   As if he had killed his prized trophy.   He actually looks as if he was posing! How Despicable is that? I was speechless and hurt me to the core, all over again.  The community feels this pain as well! We all are emotionally traumatized! The people of the State of Minnesota have been traumatized for decades from the continuance of seeing inhumane treatment, hurt, pain, grief and trauma come to the surface and boil over!” When emotions come through the door common sense flies out the window. There are many people who are peacefully protesting. There are equally many people who are exploiting the crisis in Minnesota from all over the country!  There are many good citizens of Minnesota and people that have come here from around the nation to express their disdain! For the past four years since my son was murdered, The Philando Castile Relief Foundation has been actively talking to officials in Minnesota and other states to address police reform and policy changes.  Here we are today,  after participating in the development of the “Toolkit “ with John Jay Criminal College in NY and many partners i.e. St. Paul Prosecutor John Choi St. Paul Prosecutor and Minneapolis Prosecutor Mike Freeman, that was released in 2019, as a unique and innovative set of best practices and guidelines for responding to police fatalities, that is collecting dust.  My brother Clarence and I have sat on countless panels and participated in working groups to try to understand how we bridge the gap and regain trust with the police, with great recommendations that are dormant.  There is an actual Philando Castile bill number 1590, introduced in 2017, that is dormant as well.   I have repeatedly expressed my concerns about “what would happen if another Black man is killed?” I communicated to the State of Minnesota, that we are one (1) degree away from exploding.  That’s where we are today. I hope and pray that we can sit at the table with stakeholders from all side to address the “use of force policies” and actually be heard. For example, where is the policy that allows an officer to put his  knee on someone’s neck?  If there is such a policy, we need to change it.  Regarding protesting, take a moment to listen to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s interview with Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes” in 1967 to understand its cultural history.  Source: MLK – A Riot Is The Language of the Unheard  

Let’s not be so quick to blame it on Black people destroying their own neighborhoods.  It is way deeper and is often not Black people at all.  As I celebrate my bornday, I want to ask policy makers to form a covenant with the marginalized people in the community to reduce inequality, make policing reform a priority and include all Minnesotans in the economy.  The world is watching Minnesota to set a precedence for equality and police reform.  I have great appreciation for our Governor for his restraint in not militarizing our neighborhoods.  The Civil Rights movement of the 60s gives up a playbook to follow which includes a great war strategy, RETREAT, to make room for a covenant that we know is possible if “WILL” leads.  Let’s work together to negotiate a covenant and action plan that is a model for the country.”

Valerie Castile, Philando Castile’s Mother

Contact: Valerie Castile, President/CEO Philando Castile Relief Foundation