The death of Philando Castile was both heartbreaking and senseless.
Castile was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop. He clearly and politely informed the officer that he had a licensed firearm in his car.
This did not stop Officer Jeronimo Yanez firing seven shots at point blank rage.
Castile’s family have remained determined to seek justice and honor his legacy. This week his mother and former classmates came together to give out the first scholarship in his name.
The scholarship award aims to give $5,000 a year to a young man of color for their education.
It has been established by the alumni of Central High School, where Mr Castile went to school.
The first scholarship was awarded to Marques Watson who graduated from the school this year.
The gifted teen is headed to St Paul College for two years to study mechanical engineering before he transfers to a four-year university.
“Before I received this scholarship, I had no way… at all, that I was going to be able to help myself, and my family really has no money to help me,” Mr Watson told Minnesota Public Radio. “This scholarship is great because it takes a little weight off my shoulders.”
The scholarship committee hopes to raise $100,000 so that they can establish an endowment for the scholarship.
So far they’ve raised $50,000 toward that goal.
Castile graduated from Central High School in 2001. His life was cut tragically short last July when he was pulled over for an alleged broken taillight.
Officer Yanez later argued in court that there were other circumstances that led him to pull the trigger. He suspected that Castile may have robbed a convenience store earlier that day.
On June 16, 2017, Officer Yanez was acquitted of all charges. He had been charged with manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm.