Philando Castile: A Rumpus Roundup


On Wednesday evening, police shot and killed St. Paul Minnesota resident Philando Castile after stopping him for a broken tail light.

More than five hundred police shootings have occurred so far this year, and Alton Sterling’s Philando Castile’s death might have simply become another statistic on an interactive graphic except for one pesky citizen who live-streamed the incident to Facebook. Oops.

The police were not wearing body cameras, although Minnesota does have statewide rules on their usage, specifically limiting public access to the footage.

Despite the lack of body cameras, Castile’s girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter were also in the car. She uploaded the footage to the Internet and it disseminated quickly through social media.

Turns out having a heavily armed white dude shoot a black man during a routine traffic stop is fairly unpopular. Within hours, hundreds of people showed up at the Minnesota governor’s mansion to express their outrage.

Castile was taken to the hospital, but police prevented his mother from seeing her dying son before his death. She still hasn’t seen her son’s body.

Congresswoman Cedric Richmond Betty McCollum, a Democrat representing New Orleans area Minnesota, has called for a federal investigation of the shooting.

Celebrities have also spoken out on social media.

If any of this sounds familiar, its probably because I wrote the same article yesterday about Alton Sterling, a Louisiana man shot and killed while pinned to the ground.

Sterling Castile is the 114th 115th black man killed by police in 2016.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →