Black man dies in new American cop shooting

Washington, Thursday

A black man has been shot dead by police in the US state of Minnesota as protests continued over the police killing of a black man in Louisiana.

Philando Castile’s girlfriend live-streamed the St Paul incident’s aftermath, showing him covered in blood as an officer pointed his gun at him. He was shot as he reached for his driving licence, she said.

It follows the death of Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by police during an incident in Baton Rouge on Tuesday. Hundreds of people have protested for two nights over Sterling’s killing.

The deaths follow a long line of high-profile incidents involving African-Americans at the hands of the police, igniting a national debate about the use of lethal force. Castile had been stopped in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St Paul, because the car had a broken rear light, the woman, identified in local media reports as Lavish Reynolds, said.

Before he was shot, he told the officer that he was licensed to carry a concealed gun and had one in his possession, she said. “You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his licence and registration, sir,” Reynolds says in the video.

A child, Reynolds’s daughter, was also in the car at the time. Police said an investigation was under way and the officer involved had been put on leave.

Castile, 32, worked as a cafeteria supervisor at a Montessori school. His cousin Antonio Johnson told the Star Tribune newspaper he was “immediately criminally profiled” because he was black. About 200 people have been protesting outside State Governor Mark Dayton’s mansion in St Paul.

In Baton Rouge, hundreds of people gathered for a second night of protests at the shop where Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old father of five, was killed on Tuesday. Some demonstrators chanted “Black lives matter” and called for justice.

The BBC’s Laura Bicker in Baton Rouge said there was real anger but also despair and a feeling among some that the fight for equality might never be won.

A second piece of video from Baton Rouge emerged on Wednesday appearing to show Mr Sterling being held down and then shot several times, although some shots are heard when the camera moves away from the confrontation.

Seconds later, one of the officers is seen removing an object from the man’s trousers as he lies on the ground with blood on his chest. A witness said he saw officers take a gun from Mr Sterling’s pocket after the shooting, but police have not commented on this. Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr said Sterling was armed but that a lot of questions still had to be answered. -BBC

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