On July 6, 2016 Philando Castile was killed by Jeronimo Yanez, a Minnesota police officer. Sitting next to him was his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds who, once Philando had been shot, began live-streaming the tragic scene while pleading to God for his life. Her four year-old daughter watched it all from the back seat. Today officer Yanez was acquitted. After the verdict Philando’s mother said what so many know: “The system in this country continues to fail black people and will continue to fail us.”
The following is a lament for Philando Castile in the words of Diamond Reynolds and her daughter as recorded on her live-streamed video.
Oh my god please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.
Please don’t tell me this. Lord please Jesus don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.
You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us. You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations. (Psalm 44:10-11)
Where’s my daughter? You got my daughter?”
[Daughter crying in background]
Please don’t tell me he’s gone. Please Jesus no. Please no. Please no don’t let him be gone Lord.
Please don’t tell me my boyfriend’s gone. He don’t deserve this. Please. He’s a good man, he works for St. Paul Public school. He doesn’t have no records of anything. He’s never been in jail, anything. He’s not a gang member, anything.
All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path. (Psalm 44:17-18)
You cover him Lord. That you allow him to still be here with us Lord. Still with me… Lord. Please Lord wrap your arms around him. Please Lord make sure that he’s OK, that he’s breathing Lord. Please Lord you know our rights Lord, you know we are innocent people Lord. We are innocent people. We are innocent people. We are innocent. My four-year-old…
How long will the enemy mock you, God? Will the foe revile your name forever? Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them! (Psalm 74:10-11)
[Child] I’m scared.
Don’t be scared.
[Child] It’s OK mommy.
I can’t believe they just did this I’m fucking, fucking…fuck! [screams].
[Child] It’s OK, I’m right here with you.
Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Before our eyes, make known among the nations that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants. (Psalm 79:10)
Y’all please pray for us, Jesus, please y’all.
Photo: Lorie Shaull.