Philando Castile Charity Covers Entire School District's Lunch Debt

Two years after he was fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota, Philando Castile is still helping students afford lunch.

A charity created in Castile’s honor has paid off the lunch debt for every student in the 56 schools in the St. Paul Public School District, including the school where Castile worked as a cafeteria supervisor.

“That means no parent of the 37,000 kids who eat meals at school need worry about how to pay that overdue debt,” a charity organizer wrote on the “Philando Feeds the Children” fundraising page.

Castile had worked as a cafeteria supervisor at the J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul for two years at the time he was killed.

Families said students at the school took his death especially hard.

In 2017, around the anniversary of Castile’s death, families of children at J.J. Hill told the Pioneer Press that Castile often high-fived students and helped them with their lunches.

“It’s one thing to say he was a good guy, and it’s another thing to know he was a good guy,” Eisen Ramgren, a student’s parent, told the St. Paul newspaper.

Pam Fergus, an educator who launched the charity, told CNN she delivered a $35,000 check to the St. Paul Public School District this week. The charity, which had an original goal of raising $5,000, now has more than $117,000 in donations, according to the YouCaring page. The funds will continue to pay for student lunches “for years to come,” Fergus wrote in a fundraising update.

Fergus told Fox 9 News that Castile was known at his school for paying for students’ lunches when they couldn’t afford it.

“Philando was famous for that,” she said. “His mother told me that every day he would call her after leaving his job at J.J. Hill and talk about the kids. Another kid didn’t have the money in his account, so Philando would take $3 out of his pocket and buy that kid’s lunch for the day.” 

In July 2016, St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Castile after pulling him over for a broken taillight in a St. Paul suburb.

Yanez maintained that he thought Castile was reaching for the weapon, while Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend who filmed the traffic stop from the passenger seat, said he was reaching for his wallet.

Footage of the incident from a police dash cam and Reynolds’ camera shows Castile calmly telling Yanez he had a firearm. After the shooting, Reynolds said Yanez had just asked Castile for his license and registration, adding that Castile was licensed to carry.

Castile’s death sparked nationwide protests against police violence after the shooting and again after Yanez was found not guilty of manslaughter.

Now that the charity has reached well over its fundraising goal, Fergus hopes it can continue to raise money for more schools in Minnesota. 

“I don’t know how much it would take to help the whole state of Minnesota,” Fergus told CNN. “There is no end goal. Basically, I want a million bucks in there.”


  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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Philando Castile‘s Girlfriend Settles With St. Anthony For $800,000

The city of St. Anthony has agreed to a second legal settlement over the fatal shooting of Philando Castile by one of its police officers. And this time, with its insurance coverage all but used up, any settlement would largely come from city coffers.

The St. Anthony City Council on Tuesday night voted to pay $675,000 to settle legal claims brought by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her daughter. The pair was in the car with Castile when he was shot to death during a traffic stop by then-St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez on July 6, 2016.

Before the unanimous vote to approve the settlement, Mayor Jerry Faust said he hoped it would “open the door to continued healing in our community.”

“If we don’t approve this and we go ahead with litigation, it would just reopen the whole case again and bring heartache to everyone involved,” Faust said. “It is best to settle.”

The council’s resolution approving the settlement said, in part, that it resolves any claims related to the alleged detention of and use of force against Reynolds and her daughter, and any claims of racial discrimination or emotional distress.

“While no amount of money can change what happened, bring Philando back, or erase the pain that my daughter and I continue to suffer,” Reynolds said in a statement to WCCO, “I do hope that closing this chapter will allow us to get our lives back and move forward.”

St. Anthony has a $3 million “per occurrence” cap on its insurance policy covering payments like this one through the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, but a settlement with Castile’s family in June used up $2.995 million of that.

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How Does $3 Million Philander Castile Settlement Compare To Other Police Shooting Settlements?


The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last year, on Monday announced she has agreed to a nearly $3 million settlement with the Minneapolis suburb that employed the officer. Valerie Castile’s settlement with the city of St. Anthony will avert a federal wrongful death lawsuit.

Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, was shot five times by Officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop on July 6 last year. Yanez shot Castile seconds after Castile informed him that he was carrying a gun. A jury acquitted Yanez of manslaughter earlier this month, but St. Anthony has announced plans to fire him.

The settlement is among several other million-dollar-plus payouts in recent years in cases of killings by police. Among them:


MICHAEL BROWN: The St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, agreed to a $1.5 million settlement with the parents of Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old fatally shot by white Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in 2014.

WALTER SCOTT: North Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015 paid $6.5 million to the family of Scott, an unarmed, black man who was killed by white police officer Michael T. Slager as Scott ran following a traffic stop. Slager pleaded guilty last month to a civil rights violation.

FREDDIE GRAY: Baltimore reached a $6.4 million settlement in 2015 with the parents of Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a critical spinal injury in the back of a transport van after his arrest and died a week later.

ERIC GARNER: New York City reached a $5.9 million settlement in 2015 with the family of Garner, an unarmed, black man who died after being put in a white police officer’s chokehold.

DANROY HENRY JR.: Pleasantville, New York, in 2016 paid $6 million to the family of Henry, a 20-year-old black college student shot to death by a white officer in 2010.

RICARDO DIAZ-ZEFERINO: The families of Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino and two other men agreed to accept $4.7 million from the city of Gardena, California. Diaz-Zeferino’s death in June 2013 occurred after the three were mistaken for robbery suspects and three officers opened fire. Diaz-Zeferino’s family received $2.8 million. Eutiquio Acevedo Mendez, who was wounded, received $1.7 million. The third man, who was unharmed, received $200,000. Diaz-Zeferino was Latino.

TAMIR RICE: Cleveland agreed in 2016 to pay $6 million to Tamir’s family. The 12-year-old boy had an airsoft gun that shoots nonlethal plastic pellets when a white officer shot him in 2014.

TONY ROBINSON JR.: Madison, Wisconsin, this year agreed to pay $3.35 million to relatives of Robinson, 19, who was black and unarmed when he was fatally shot after allegedly punching an officer. An attorney for Robinson’s family said three of the seven shots were fired from several feet away, contradicting the account that the officer was being attacked.

DONTRE HAMILTON: Milwaukee this year reached a $2.3 million tentative settlement with the family of Hamilton, a 31-year-old black man with schizophrenia who was shot 14 times by a white police officer responding to a complaint of a man sleeping in a downtown park in April 2014.

JONATHAN FERRELL: His family agreed to a $2.25 million settlement with the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, after a white police officer fatally shot the unarmed, black man in September 2013.

JORGE AZUCENA: The mother of Azucena received a $1.35 million settlement from Los Angeles in 2015. Azucena, 26, died of an asthma attack about 40 minutes after he was taken into custody for running a red light in September 2013.

LaTANYA HAGGERTY: Chicago settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Haggerty’s family in 2001 for $18 million. Haggerty, who was black, was shot to death by an officer when she was a passenger in a car that was chased by police in June 1999. The officer, who is black, said she mistook a shiny object in Haggerty’s hand for a weapon.

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Philando Castile Murder: Mother Gets $3m Over Police Shooting


The family of a black driver killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in Minnesota will receive $3m (£2.4m).

The shooting of Philando Castile last year made international headlines after his girlfriend broadcast the aftermath live on Facebook.

A civil lawsuit for wrongful death has concluded with the news that Valerie Castile, his mother, will receive the money from the city of St Anthony.

The Hispanic police officer who shot him was acquitted of manslaughter.

Mr Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, was stopped by police last July and the encounter began cordially.

Police officer Jeronimo Yanez informed him his brake light was out and asked for his insurance and licence.

But when Mr Castile politely told the officer about the gun he was legally carrying, things became tense and seconds later the officer opened fire, after shouting “Don’t reach for it!”

Last week, the family of a black man shot in Ferguson, Missouri, reached a $1.5m settlement over his death, which sparked riots and a national debate about police use of lethal force against African Americans.

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Philando Castile's family reaches $3M settlement in death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last July, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement with the city that employed the officer, avoiding a federal wrongful death lawsuit that attorneys said could have taken years to resolve.

The settlement to be paid to Valerie Castile, who is the family’s trustee, was announced Monday and comes less than two weeks after officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges connected to her son’s death.

Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, was shot five times by Yanez during a traffic stop after Castile informed the officer he was armed. Castile had a permit for his gun. The shooting gained widespread attention after Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car with her then-4-year-old daughter, livestreamed its gruesome aftermath on Facebook.

The acquittal of Yanez, who is Latino, prompted days of protests, including one in St. Paul that shut down Interstate 94 for hours and ended with 18 arrests.

The $2.995 million settlement for Valerie Castile will be paid by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, which holds the insurance policy for the city of St. Anthony. The plan for distribution of funds requires approval by a state court, which could take several weeks.

Robert Bennett, who along with attorney Glenda Hatchett is representing Valerie Castile, said a decision was made to move expeditiously rather than have the case drawn out in federal court, a process that would “exacerbate and reopen terrible wounds.” The settlement will also allow the family, the city and community to work toward healing, Bennett said.

“No amount of money could ever replace Philando,” a joint statement from the attorneys and city of St. Anthony said. “With resolution of the claims the family will continue to deal with their loss through the important work of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation.”

Bennett said the foundation’s mission is to provide financial support, grief counseling, scholarships and other help to individuals and families affected by gun violence and police violence.

Bennett said Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, is not part of the settlement. Reynolds has also hired an attorney, but it’s not clear if she is still planning a lawsuit or has any standing for a federal claim. Reynolds’ attorney did not return messages Monday.

Darin Richardson, claims manager with the League of Minnesota Cities, said St. Anthony’s insurance coverage is $3 million per occurrence. If Reynolds were to file and win a claim, the city’s remaining $5,000 in coverage would be paid to her, and St. Anthony would have to cover any additional money awarded.

The settlement happened faster than others stemming from the killings of black men by police officers elsewhere. Last week, a $1.5 million settlement was reached in the case of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old who was killed by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri. That settlement came nearly three years after the death of Brown, whose parents sued the city.

Bennett said his decades-long relationship with Joe Flynn, the attorney who represented St. Anthony in Castile’s case, helped bring a quick resolution. He also said the city of St. Anthony has a commitment to make positive changes to their police department.

The city is undergoing a voluntary review by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, with the goal of improving trust between the police department and the communities it serves.

During his trial, Yanez, 29, testified that Castile ignored his commands not to pull out his gun. The officer said he feared for his life. According to squad-car video that captured the shooting, Castile said: “I’m not pulling it out” before Yanez fired seven rapid shots. Castile’s last words after the shooting were “I wasn’t reaching …”

Reynolds later said Castile was reaching for his wallet.

The squad-car video shows the shooting, but does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez saw, leaving room for reasonable doubt.

After Yanez’s acquittal, the city of St. Anthony said it was offering Yanez a “voluntary separation agreement” from the police department, and he would no longer be an on-duty officer. The department serves the cities of St. Anthony, Lauderdale and Falcon Heights, where the shooting occurred.

The status of that separation is unknown. Messages left with the city were not immediately returned.

Monday’s joint statement said no taxpayer money will be used to fund Valerie Castile’s settlement. The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust is a cooperative in which Minnesota cities contribute premiums into a jointly owned risk pool that is used to pay claims.


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Philando Castile Shooting: Officer Said he Felt In Danger After Smelling Weed

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BREAKING: Dashcam Released Showing Cop Murder Philando Castile

“No reasonable officer would have used deadly force under these circumstances,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a press conference after watching the dashcam footage last year. “Philando Castile was not a threat.”

And now we know why.

For some reason, during the stop, the cowardly Yanez began to fear for his life because of Castile. However, all Castile was doing was telling the officer that he was legally concealed carrying.

Under Minnesota law, you do not have to disclose that you are carrying a firearm during a traffic stop unless you are asked. However, if asked, carriers must answer truthfully and provide their permit to carry, along with identification. During the stop, Yanez became aware of Castile’s handgun and Castile was then legally required to show him his license.

While Castile reached for his license, the fearful Yanez opened fire — dumping 7 rounds into the innocent man.

“He emphatically repeated that he was not pulling out the gun, only that he was lawfully carrying,” explained Choi, noting that even after his dead body was examined that the gun was still in the bottom of his pocket — and, his permit for carrying it was in his other pocket.

“His dying words were in protest that he wasn’t reaching for his gun,” noted Choi.

The cowardly Yanez’s murderous actions were so uncalled for that the shots even surprised his partner.

“During this entire incident, officer Cowzer did not touch or remove his gun from its holster,” stated Choi. “By his actions, and his own words, officer Cowzer did not see Castile make any sudden movements and was surprised by the gunshots.”

Now that the video has been released, we can see all of these facts for ourselves.

“There has always been a systemic problem in the state of Minnesota, and me thinking, common sense that we would get justice. But nevertheless, the system continues to fail black people,” Valerie Castile, Philando’s mother said. “My son loved this city, and the city killed my son and the murderer gets away.”

As the Free Thought Project reported last year, Castile was a ticking time bomb because of law enforcement policy in the United States.

Prior to being pulled over and murdered by Yanez, Castile had been stopped a whopping 52 times. All of these ‘offenses’ were non-criminal, had no victim, and were used to extract thousands from this poor man.

According to the Post, Castile was assessed at least $6,588 in fines and fees, although more than half of the total 86 violations were dismissed, court records show.

Castile was not a criminal. Not only was he not a criminal, Castile was an upstanding member of the community who now mourns his loss, yet he was targetted by police dozens of times. 

Castile was murdered — over a tail light.

But, as the Free Thought has pointed out, this was a near mathematical certainty because Yanez had undergone special training which taught him that the public is the enemy. In May of 2014, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Yanez underwent a 20-hour seminar on “Street Survival” taught by Illinois-based Calibre Press, which teaches courses on the subject to police officers nationwide.

The company’s “Street Survival Seminar” overview displays a monomaniacal focus on that most important of all policy considerations, “officer safety.” It treats every police encounter as a combat situation in which only one life truly matters – that of the government’s armed emissary, not that of the citizen who is supposedly being protected and served by him.

And now we see the ultimate result of training cops to kill.

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‘Sir, I have a firearm on me’: Graphic dashcam footage of Philando Castile shooting released


Police footage of the moment officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot Philando Castile has been released, days after a jury cleared the Minnesota policeman of all charges relating to the death which was livestreamed on Facebook.

After five days of deliberation, a jury found Yanez not guilty of second degree murder as well as two counts of intentional discharge of a firearm. The verdict spurred demonstrations in St Paul, Minnesota where thousands gathered on the streets.

Yanez fired seven bullets at Castile, hitting him five times, after ordering the school cafeteria supervisor to pull his car over because of a broken brake light.

Castile was a licensed gun owner and told Yanez he was carrying a weapon after he gave the officer his insurance.

Diamond Reynolds, who livestreamed her boyfriend bleeding to death – as their four year old sat in the backseat – maintains Castile was not reaching for a gun, but for his license and registration in his wallet.

While the contents of the dashcam footage are largely known, due to the court case, it’s the first time the moments before Reynold’s livestream have been seen by the public.

It shows the two speaking calmly, with Castile heard saying: “Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me.”

Yanez says, “Okay,” then tells him not to reach for it.

“I’m not pulling it out,” Castile replies. “Don’t pull it out!” Yanez says in a more panicked tone. “I’m not!” Castile says as Yanez starts firing into the car.

Based upon the release of the dashcam video today, it is clear that Officer Jeronimo Yanez was not in control, was nervous and acted in a reckless, willful and wanton fashion,” Larry R. Rogers Jr, Reynolds’ lawyer said in a statement.

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