Dispatch Tape Offers Clue on Why Philando Was Pulled Over

'The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just 'cause of the wide-set nose'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2016 8:44 AM CDT

Philando Castile's girlfriend says he was shot last week by a cop "for no reason at all," but there may be another clue as to why he was pulled over. ABC News has gotten its hands on police dispatch audio from the night of July 6, and on the tape (which you can listen to at the Pioneer Press), a police officer indicates he's about to make a traffic stop and that there's "reason to pull [the car] over." "The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery," the cop says. "The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just 'cause of the wide-set nose." He adds, per the Star Tribune: "I couldn't get a good look at the passenger." The day before Castile's shooting, the police department disseminated photos of those robbery suspects, who were accused of stealing from a convenience store on July 2, with descriptions noting they were two black men with medium to long dreadlocks; no mention was made of estimated height, weight, or ages.

An attorney who conferred with the Castile family after he was killed tells the Star Tribune that had Castile really been pulled over for being a robbery suspect, police should have followed the very different protocol of a felony traffic stop, which "does not usually involve officers walking up to your car and asking you to produce your driver's license." Instead, cops would take cover with guns drawn and instruct the suspect to come out and lie on the ground until he or she can be IDed. What's not broached in the audio dispatch is a broken taillight, which is what Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, says was the reason she and Castile were told they were pulled over. A witness took video at the scene and says there didn't appear to be any broken taillights. "The car was still running and it was nighttime, so you could clearly see both lights were on," Gregory Ford tells the Daily Mail, adding there was red tape on one of the lights. (Jeronimo Yanez's lawyer says the incident revolved around Castile's gun—not his race.)

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