It was standing room only inside the Cathedral at St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn., Thursday (July 14) when friends, family and mourners paid their final respects to Philando Castile who was shot and killed at routine traffic stop July 6.
Nearly 3,000 people–both black and white–lined the walls of the church as Rev. Steve Daniels urged the congregation to use Castile’s death as motivation to unite. “If we don’t come together,” Daniels said, “we cannot survive.”
Castile’s death, which was streamed on Facebook live by his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, came on the heels of Alton Sterling’s death, also at the hands of law enforcement in Baton Rouge just a day before. In the wake of the consecutive tragedies, protests in Dallas turned deadly as five police officers were killed.
Pallbearers have placed #PhilandoCastile‘s casket on a horse-drawn carriage. WCCO will stream funeral at noon. pic.twitter.com/BQX7nf72NP
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) July 14, 2016
Yet the focus of the services was Castile’s loving, kind nature and the children who referred to him as “Mr. Phil” that he positively affected as a lunchroom supervisor. As the funeral came to an end, pallbearers dressed in all white carried Castile’s caskets while raising their fists in solidarity.
The lawyers for the officer say the cop reacted to the presence of a gun not Castile’s race, yet Castile’s family lawyer Glenda Hatchet vows to file a federal lawsuit, and has also sent documentation to the Hennepin County sheriff’s office which permitted Castile to carry a gun.