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What we’re reading on Philando Castile, Charleena Lyles, and racist police violence

Photo: / AFSC

On June 16, a jury found police officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty for shooting and killing Philando Castile after he was pulled over for a broken taillight in Minnesota. Two days later, Seattle police shot and killed 30-year-old pregnant mother Charleena Lyles in front of her three children. Protests happened across the country highlighting the devastating effects of racist police violence. Here's what we're reading to learn more:

 

America's long, disturbing history of Black people calling the police and ending up dead, by Muna Mire via Fusion

"Some of the first organized police in the U.S. were slave patrols and night watches to ensure the enslaved remained property and did not rise up against their masters. And when it comes to the legacy of lynching, which spanned centuries, police rarely protected against and often supported the heinous acts. More than half of lynchings were carried out with police participation, and those who didn't participate 'either condone[d] or wink[ed] at the mob action,' writes sociologist Arthur Raper in his seminal 1933 study of lynchings."

 

Resist! Thousands flood the streets after not guilty verdict in police killing of Philando Castile. By Angela Helm via The Root

"On Friday morning, Yanez, 29, was cleared of a manslaughter charge as well as two lesser charges. In some small semblance of justice, the Associated Press reports that Yanez will soon be out of a job as a police officer.

Valerie Castile, Philando's mother, addressed the crowd directly after leaving the courthouse.

'The system continues to fail Black people, and it will continue to fail you all,' said Valerie Castile. 'When they get done with us, they coming for you, for you, for you, and all your interracial children. Y’all are next, and you will be standing up here fighting for justice just as well as I am.'"

 

Hundreds of supporters rally and march for Charleena Lyles, by Heidi Groover, Steven Hsieh and Ana Sofia Knauf via The Stranger

"After the rally wrapped up, family members of Charleena Lyles called for a march. The mass of supporters promptly filed out onto a neighborhood road, which turned to a two-lane street, which became four-lanes. Marchers walked through oncoming traffic while motorists reached their hands out of their windows to give passersby high-fives. Other motorists honked in solidarity.

For three miles, the marches chanted 'Say her name—Charleena,' the call and response that has emerged as the defining rallying cry for Lyles. Rodgers, Lyles' sister, led for much of the route. 'My sister has been waiting for her voice to be heard. It took her dying for her to be heard, but she's being heard today,' she said."

 

The Philando Castile jury was stacked with pro-gun, pro-cop, middle-aged white people, by Kali Holloway via AlterNet

"The jury was shown the footage several times over the course of Yanez's criminal trial, yet they chose to acquit him on all charges. It's a verdict that's maddeningly, infuriatingly and heartbreakingly illogical, yet consistent with the outcome in every case of cops who are tried for killing innocent Black people. The U.S. system of criminal injustice fails Black folks from start to finish by design. A more intimate look at the jurors in Yanez's criminal case, compiled by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, offers not only insights into how they arrived at their decision, but a look at just how well-stacked the jury was against a just verdict for Castile."

 

"Philando can be any of us": Black Lives Matter protests acquittal of officer in Minnesota killing, via Democracy Now

 

"What We're Reading" is a weekly feature on AFSC’s News and Commentary blog, where we share a curated collection of recent articles on timely issues. "What We're Reading" is meant to spark discussion, debate, and knowledge sharing, and the articles we highlight do not necessarily reflect the official organizational positions of AFSC. We encourage you to tell us what you're reading on these issues in the comments below. 

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