Philando Castile Incident Provides Concealed Carry Lessons
Note: I might seem like I am Monday morning quarterbacking on some of this article, maybe I am, but it is my opinion. If you cannot handle adult conversations go back to watching Sesame Street.
The Philando Castile concealed carry incident has really hit home for me. I am truly agitated that he was killed. It does not sit right with me. We all should be saddened by this event for multiple reasons. I have multiple concealed carry permits from different states. So when I travel and the like I can carry in almost every state. One of the things that has always made me think is the possibility of an encounter with a police officer. Many people say you should notify the officer you are carrying a gun, even some states mandate the notification. Make sure you read all the states you will be carrying in and their unique state laws regarding concealed carry. These encounters are so important in regard to safety. But we must look at both sides of the encounter. What does a police officer see and what does the concealed carrier see. My takeaways from the Philando Castile dash cam footage was there were some things on each side that could have been done which would have made the situations stress level not rise as fast as it did.
First off the encounter was going amazingly smooth. Police officer came up, told him why he got pulled over, he was given his ID, etc. All until Philando says "I do have to tell you I have a firearm on me". Immediately the situation changes. The officer then says "Don't reach for it though". At this point, it is only speculation on my part, Philando seems to be moving his hands. Maybe to get his concealed carry permit. The officer says multiple times "Don't pull it out" and Philando replies "I'm not pulling it out". Then the officer puts his hand in the car, I am assuming to secure Philando's hands, and then opens fire at point blank range. From the time the officer comes up to the car and introduces himself to the time Philando is shot, multiple times, is less than 40 seconds. From the time Philando says he has a firearm on him until the officer shoots him is five seconds. That is how fast shit can happen.
So from the officers side I can understand his concern. I doubt any right minded person would not. Someone just told you they have a firearm on them. So rightfully so his alert level went up. Within a millisecond of Philando saying the word firearm the officer already had his pistol half unholstered.
As he is doing this he said "Don't reach for it". Literally another half second later the officer has his pistol pretty much cleared from the holster and says "Don't pull it out".
At this point there is still nothing wrong with the officers actions. The pistol is pointed in a safe direction and he is giving instruction to not pull out the gun. I believe the officer should have told him what to do and instead he told him what not to do. Philando, again I am assuming, was probably looking for his concealed carry permit which is why he told him he had a gun on him. Now how many criminals say they have guns on them in such a calm manner? The large majority of the time it is a surprise to the officer, not someone telling them they have a gun. So back to the timeline. Within another half second Philando and his girlfriend both say he is not pulling it out. It is at this time the officer reaches in the car and then begins to shoot Philando seven times at point blank range.
The officer stated he "was getting fucking nervous" during the statement he gave at the scene. We all must remember that being a police officer is a stressful job and things happen in milliseconds. People see this when they do those virtual reality "be a cop" simulators. Did someone have a gun or not and when did you shoot. Most of the time the people in these simulators will shoot unarmed people or be shot themselves. The job is amazingly dangerous and unpredictable at times. But from what I see the officer had the advantage. Philando is in a car, seat belt on and in a confined space. The officer had the high ground so to speak.
When you look at when police are shot at during pull overs it is almost always after the door is opened or when suspects are outside the vehicle. Not once in all the police dash cam videos I combed through before writing this had I see a case where a suspect informs the police officer they had a gun and then shoots them. Not saying it doesn't happen, but it is amazingly rare and I couldn't find a video where it happened other than the Philando Castile incident. So training and possible experience were part of the blame of why Philando was killed. The officer acted nervous, not in control of the situation and possibly he had assumptions about Philando.
When looking at the actions of Philando Castile I can only see one thing that stuck out to me. He did not, what I call, act like a robot. Police always want to see your hands. If he would have kept his hands visible the incident might have had a different outcome. As a concealed carrier myself I have this drilled into my brain. Hands are on the wheel and they do what the officer says. Nothing more. Other than that, Philando handled himself well, spoke respectfully and calmly. His attitude did not escalate the situation, it was his hands not being visible in my opinion. There is nothing more I can say in regard to what Philando did. He died and it is a tragedy. People will look at the cop as "getting off" for killing Philando. If that officer is a normal person, which I assume, he is going to have to live with this mistake the rest of his life. I can see from the dash cam video the officer was shaken up, he did not show he was some sort of maniac killer. He was distraught at what occurred. Philando's family will have to deal with the horror of seeing him killed. A lifelong pain that will never leave them. His child was in the backseat and I am sure the trust in police could waver for that young child. Hopefully we can all learn something from this incident. I know I have.