An audio recording of police scanner traffic appears to capture the moments leading up the death of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man who was shot and killed last week by police in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
A viewer provided the audio to KARE 11, a local NBC affiliate, last week.
“I’m going to stop a car,” an officer can be heard saying in the recording before reading off a license plate number. KARE did not publicize the number for privacy reasons, but the station said it had verified that the car was Castile’s. The station has also not yet responded to The Huffington Post’s requests for the license plate number.
“I’m going to check IDs,” the officer says in the audio. “I have reason to pull it over. The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery.”
“The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide-set nose,” the officer continues.
About a minute and a half later, according to KARE, the officer reports to dispatch that shots have been fired at the intersection of Larpenteur and Fry.
The officer then says that a female passenger ― presumably Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds ― has been taken into custody and that the driver is “at gunpoint.”
A press release from the St. Anthony Village Police Department confirms that an officer-involved shooting took place at the intersection of Larpenteur and Fry on July 6, the day Castile was killed.
The department told The Huffington Post that they were not answering questions and said to contact the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is leading the investigation into Castile’s death.
“The BCA did not release, nor can we authenticate, the scanner traffic to which you referred,” Jill Oliveira, a public information officer for the Department of Public safety, told HuffPost in an email.
The BCA has identified Jeronimo Yanez as the St. Anthony police officer who shot Castile. His partner, Joseph Kauser, was also on the scene. Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Reynolds, who was in the car with Castile and recorded a graphic Facebook Live video of the shooting’s aftermath, said they had been pulled over for a broken taillight. She also said Castile had told officers that he had a gun and was licensed to carry.
Thomas Kelly, the attorney representing Yanez, confirmed to KARE on Tuesday that the audio recording is authentic. Earlier, Kelly told the Star Tribune that his client had stopped Castile for the broken taillight ― and also because Yanez believed Castile looked like the suspect in an armed robbery that had occurred a couple days earlier.
“All he had to have was reasonable suspicion to pull him over,” Kelly said.
He added that Yanez shot Castile “after he reacted to the actions of Mr. Castile.”
“This has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with the presence of a gun,” Kelly added. “Deadly force would not have been used if not for the presence of a gun.”
This story has been updated to note that Thomas Kelly confirmed the authenticity of the audio recording on Tuesday.