Just to Be Free

by Rachel Fannan

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Written in memory of Philando Castile.


On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was fatally shot by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer, after being pulled over in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul. Castile was driving a car with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter as passengers when he was pulled over by Yanez and another officer. According to Reynolds, after being asked for his license and registration, Castile told the officer he was licensed to carry a weapon and had one in his pants pocket. Reynolds said Castile was shot while reaching for his ID after telling Yanez he had a gun permit and was armed. The officer shot at Castile seven times.

Diamond Reynolds live-streamed a video on Facebook in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. It shows her interacting with the armed officer as a mortally injured Castile lies slumped over, moaning slightly and his left arm and side bloody. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office ruled Castile's death a homicide and said he had sustained multiple gunshot wounds. The office reported that Castile died at 9:37 p.m. CDT in the emergency room of the Hennepin County Medical Center, about 20 minutes after being shot.

On November 16, 2016, John Choi, the Ramsey County Attorney, announced that Yanez was being charged with three felonies: one count of second degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. Choi said "I would submit that no reasonable officer knowing, seeing, and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time would have used deadly force under these circumstances."

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released November 11, 2016
Written and performed by Rachel Fannan
Recorded by Scott Barber
Mixed by Sean O'Brian

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Rachel Fannan Los Angeles, California

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