The NRA finally made a statement about the death of Philando Castile, a black man who was shot and killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop in July 2016.
On Sunday, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch and Women’s March co-organizer Tamika Mallory appeared on CNN to discuss the recent inflammatory NRA ad that targeted progressive activists and featured Loesch herself. The ad, which was published in the beginning of June, was so outrageous that the Women’s March organizers wrote an open letter to the NRA demanding an apology and a retraction. When the NRA refused to apologize or retract the video, the Women’s March announced a protest against the NRA on July 14 and 15.
In the open letter, written by Mallory, the Women’s March also demanded that the NRA make a public statement on the death of Castile. Castile was a gun owner who had a licensed gun on him during the traffic stop.
Two days after Castile died, the NRA released a very vague statement that said the organization would not comment on an ongoing investigation and would wait until all the facts were known. That is the only statement the NRA has made about Castile’s death.
On CNN, Loesch said on behalf of the NRA that the death of Castile is “absolutely awful” and “a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided.”
“I don’t agree with every single decision that comes out from courtrooms of America. There are a lot of variables in this particular case and there were a lot of things that I wish would have been done differently,” Loesch told the CNN host. “Do I believe that Philando Castile deserved to lose his life over a [traffic] stop? I absolutely do not. I also think that this is why we have things like NRA carry guard, not only to reach out to the citizens to go over what to do during stops like this, but also to work with law enforcement so that they understand what citizens are experiencing when they go through stops like this.”
The Women’s March posted the interview on social media, writing: “If the NRA truly recognizes that he should be alive today, they should join us in calling on the DOJ to indict the officer responsible on civil rights charges.”
Below is a short clip of the interview where Loesch discussed the shooting of Castile.
In a recent interview with HuffPost, Mallory explained why it’s so dangerous that the NRA had yet to comment on the Castile case.
“The NRA does not believe in protecting black and brown lives,” she said. “They are not an organization that represents all people. Because if, in fact, the NRA was an organization that represents all people, why would you not have a response to Philando Castile?”
She added that the NRA should have made a statement a long time ago on Castile’s behalf as a person and a licensed gun owner. “Dana Loesch’s NRA ad makes it very clear ... that not only will the NRA not defend and protect black and brown lives, they will also take up arms against black and brown people,” Mallory said.