By Frederick H. Lowe
Late night talk show host Trevor Noah lashed out at the National Rifle Association for its deafening silence regarding the acquittal of a police officer in the deadly shooting of Philando Castile, a registered gun owner.
Noah, host of The Daily Show, said during his opening monologue,”There’s a group you would expect would be losing their goddamned minds about this: the NRA, Noah said. For some strange reason, on this case, they have been completely silent. And yet according to their rhetoric, this is everything that they stand against, right? An officer of the state depriving a citizen of his life because he was legally carrying a firearm.”
He then showed a film clip of Wayne LaPierre, CEO and executive vice president of the NRA, insisting in 2014 that there is no greater freedom than the right to survive and protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns and handgun we want.
“Unless you are black, is what it should say,” Noah said. “It’s interesting how the people who define themselves by one fundamental American right—the right to bear arms” show that once race is involved, the only right that they believe in is their right to remain silent.”
A majority white jury on Friday acquitted Jeronimo Yanez, a police officer, in the shooting death of Castile during a traffic stop moments after Castile had told Yanez that he was a registered gun owner and that he was carrying a weapon. Castile was 32.
Yanez fired seven shots into the car, killing Castile, a cafeteria worker. Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, livestreamed the shooting’s aftermath on Facebook. Reynolds’ four-year-old daughter was sitting in the backseat.
Yanez testified Castile was reaching for his gun, but Reynolds testified he was reaching for his ID. She was telling the truth. Castile’s gun was found in his front pocket and there was not a bullet in the chamber.
The shooting occurred July 16, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minn., near Minneapolis. The St. Anthony police department fired Yanez after the former police chief defended the shooting.
U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D, La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told the Associated Press that for African
Americans, the Castile verdict suggested that the Second Amendment does not apply to them. The verdict “tells African-Americans across the country that they can be killed by police officers with impunity, even when they are following the law.
Colion Noir, a black-male NRA spokesman who doesn’t write under his real name, on Sunday published a column about Castile’s deadly shooting, headlined “Philando Castile Should Be Alive Today.” Noir made it clear he was expressing his own opinion not the NRA’s.
“In the case of officer Jeronimo Yanez, I don’t feel he woke up that day wanting to shoot a black person. However, I keep asking myself, would he have done the same thing if Philando were white?”
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he believes Castile would be alive today if he were white. Sen Al Franken, (D., Minn.), said in a statement Castile did not deserve to die.
The African American Gun Club has posted tips on its Facebook page about what black gun owners must do when they are stopped by police while driving. One of the tips encourages black drivers to immediately tell the cop or cops you have a gun-owners permit and where the gun is located.
This advice didn’t do Castile any good.