Tweet Sums up Why Philando Castile's Girlfriend Livestreamed His Death

July 7th 2016

Tricia Tongco

Cellphone footage of police brutality have become sadly commonplace in America. On Wednesday night, though, Diamond "Lavish" Reynolds introduced a tragic new development in how how these police killings are documented, as she broadcast the death of her boyfriend, Philando Castille, on Facebook Live.

Several Twitter users who viewed the video criticized Reynolds for filming the final moments of Castille's life.

screenshot from Diamond Reynolds

Reynolds decision to livestream the incident — and her incredible calm — might seem shocking to some, but for others, including writer Roxane Gay, it makes perfect sense.

Gay was responding to a tweet by CNN host and media correspondent Brian Stelter, who posted a quote from an article in which he explored Reynold's choice to use Facebook Live to document the aftermath of the shooting:

"Live streaming enabled Reynolds to share the incident more quickly than a recorded cellphone video could have.

"And it provided an even more intimate, distressing view of the shooting."

Stelter also reported on what Reynolds said herself about why she decided to record the traumatic incident:

"On Thursday, during another live stream, Reynolds said she 'wanted everyone in the world to know' what had happened, specifically citing police mistreatment.

"Through the live stream, she said, 'I just wanted to get out the truth.'"

While Stelter's tweet could be taken as dismissive, upon further inspection he seems to making a statement in the same vein as Gay. Both of them are highlighting that, during a police shooting, the burden of proof seems to land on the victim's shoulders not the police — especially if that victim is black. Video recordings and new media platforms such as Facebook Live are becoming tools for providing evidence and a way to be heard — a way to ensure that there were witnesses. Because in the words of one Twitter user, who was Reynolds going to call? The police?