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On Philando Castile

The verdict in the Philando Castile shooting has weighed heavy on me the last few days. Like many people (including Trevor Noah), I sit there asking, How? How can anyone watch the video evidence and conclude that the officer was reasonably acting in self-defense? That it was perfectly rational for the officer to discharge his firearm into car—with an innocent woman and a child in the car as well—seven times?

The officer panicked. Most remarkably, as Trevor Noah points out, the woman still has the presence of mind—after seeing her boyfriend pumped full of bullets without provocation—to defer to the officer's authority. She remains calm. She calls him "sir". The four-year-old child is escorted from the scene after pleading with her mother, "Don't get shooted."

Time and again we hear that police officers need broad leeway to act quickly in the face of a deadly threat, for the protection of their lives and others'. But what are the checks and balances? In w…

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