Police Fatally Shoot Black Man During Traffic Stop in Minnesota

The fatal shooting of a black man by police after a traffic stop Wednesday night in a suburb of Minneapolis and St. Paul sparked overnight protests after a purported video of the incident’s aftermath spread across social media.

Police from St. Anthony, Minn.—who patrol the city of Falcon Heights, where the incident occurred—said the victim, Philando Castile, died later at a hospital. A woman and a young child, subsequently identified as Mr. Castile’s girlfriend and her daughter, were also in the car and were both safe, police said.

The apparent cellphone video showed the man slumped over in the driver’s seat, his arm obviously injured and blood covering his T-shirt. Diamond Reynolds, the victim’s girlfriend who says she posted the video, said the couple had been pulled over for a broken taillight.

According to Ms. Reynolds on the video, Mr. Castile informed the officer that he had a gun and was licensed for it. Ms. Reynolds said he was reaching for his wallet when the officer began shooting.

“I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand off it!” the officer yells through the window, his gun still drawn on the man.

“You told him to get his ID, sir, and his driver’s license,” Ms. Reynolds says calmly, adding, “Please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.”

In an interview with a group of reporters, Ms. Reynolds said there were two officers involved in the incident. A white officer was on her side of the car and an Asian-American officer on the driver’s side fired a total of five shots at Mr. Castile. “He was crying, he was frantic and very, very nervous” after the shooting, she said.

Neither officer has been identified.

Protesters gathered at the scene Wednesday night and into early Thursday morning and later moved to the governor’s mansion in St. Paul, Minn., where yellow police tape was put up on the gates of the building, according to photos on the Facebook page of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton expressed condolences to Mr. Castile and his family and said he had asked the Justice Department to conduct an independent investigation of the shooting.

He said the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is “collecting all necessary evidence, and interviewing witnesses, to determine what happened, and to assure that justice in this case is served.”

Ms Reynolds told reporters on Friday morning that she hasn’t been able to sleep or eat since Mr. Castile was shot dead in front of her and her 4-year-old daughter.

“He did not do nothing but what the police officer ask him to do,” she said, adding nothing in Mr. Castile’s body language was threatening, she said.

“I have not been able to do anything but hold my daughter and tell her how much I thank her and how much of a superhero she is,” she said in tears.

Protesters gathered at the scene Wednesday night and into early Thursday morning and later moved to the governor’s mansion in St. Paul, Minn., where yellow police tape was put up on the gates of the building, according to photos on the Facebook page of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.

Last November in Minneapolis, police shot and killed a 24-year-old black man, Jamar Clark, during what authorities have described as an altercation with officers. The city’s top prosecutor later decided not to charge the officers in the incident. After the shooting, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis led protests which included setting up an encampment at a police precinct station.

The group has also held several holiday demonstrations at the Mall of America, despite legal efforts to stop them.

St. Paul Public Schools said in a statement that Mr. Castile had been an employee in the nutrition services department since 2002, when he was 19 years old. He was named a manager two years ago, the district said.

“I am deeply sorry for his family and for their loss. He’s worked in SPPS for many years and he graduated from our district, so he was one of our own,” said Superintendent Valeria Silva.

The incident also comes a day after a video of another police-related fatal shooting of a black man created a social media firestorm. Alton Sterling, 37, was killed by police in Baton Rouge, La., Tuesday. Wednesday, the Justice Department said it would investigate the matter.