Memorial created by community members for Philando Castile
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (KMSP) - A pop-up memorial for Philando Castile was uncovered on Saturday, steps from where he was shot and killed. Castile, a black man shot in his car by a police officer last July, left behind many grieving friends and family.
“The day gone come when I don’t march no more,” said Carolyn Philstrom, a classmate of Castile’s. “We come to heal, we come to celebrate how God is transforming this very place from a place of bloodshed to a place of new life.”
Organizers of the group Falcon Heights We Can Do Better said they have asked the city to put up a permanent memorial to Castile, but that has yet to happen.
Those who knew him - and many who didn’t - gathered at the memorial to ensure Castile would never be forgotten.
“My son, his spirit dwells in all of us,” Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, said on Saturday to the crowd.
“I was touched by how deeply Philando loved others and is loved, and how the power of his love has sparked a movement for justice,” an organizer of We Can Do Better said.
Castile’s family and Falcon Heights residents were responsible for unveiling the pop-up memorial, until a permanent one can be built.
One memorable quote is inscribed on the memorial: “Son, you never talked much here, but you’re making a lot of noise now, baby.”
At one point, the crowd around the memorial was even chanting his name and singing.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez faces second degree manslaughter charges for the shooting death of Castile. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15 on a defense motion to dismiss the charges.
Those at the memorial said they will continue to fight for justice.
“He lost his life to show us the injustice that happens when you’re not looking,” Castile’s mother said at the memorial.
Castile’s friend, John Thompson, also spoke at the memorial.
“We lost a lot right here on Larpenteur and Fry. We lost a lot right here. But with God as my witness, my sole purpose on this earth from this day forward is to make sure there is not another Philando in this state, not on my watch.
Community members said they will continue to fight for changes in Falcon Heights when it comes to policing and the contract with St. Anthony Police Department.
Valerie Castile would not comment on the defense’s claims in the filing, including the revelation that Yanez claimed there was a gun next to Castile during the shooting.
The Castile family plans to appear in court on Wednesday.