Everybody in the Twin Cities saw the video of Philando Castile dying, whether you wanted to or not. I barely remember pictures of Philando alive, but there is no way for me to forget the amount of blood that stained his white shirt; the face of his girlfriend recording; the four-year-old child in the back of the car; and outside, the frantic, shrill voice of St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot him dead.
This July will mark the third year since Philando’s murder. Three years should be enough for some sort of change, but it has meant nothing to the inflexible landscape of the Twin Cities. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul masquerade as liberal areas where everybody is safe to exist, but the mask is almost always prettier than what’s found underneath. When Philando was shot, it had been less than a year since we occupied the street in front of Minneapolis’ fourth precinct in response to Jamar Clark’s death. Those of us who gathered outside the corner where Philando was shot knew better than to be fooled.