Philando Settlement Marred by More Law Enforcement Racism

"She'll have that spent in six months on crack cocaine … I hope she loses all her state and county aid now she has this cash," Deputy Tom McBroom tweeted about Diamond Reynolds.

Diamond Reynolds / YOUTUBE

The St. Anthony City Council in Minnesota voted to give Diamond Reynolds $675,000 as part of a total $800,000 settlement for her emotional distress and wrongful arrest following the fatal officer-involved shooting of her boyfriend, Philando Castile. In response, a Rice County sheriff's deputy, who is also a city council member, took to social media to say that Reynolds would spend her settlement on crack cocaine.


"She'll have that spent in six months on crack cocaine … I hope she loses all her state and county aid now she has this cash," Tom McBroom tweeted on Tuesday, hours after the settlement was reached.

The $125,000 of Reynolds' settlement is from the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust and the city of Roseville.

In response to McBroom's tweets, obtained by City Pages, a Twitter user asked:

"What leads you to that conclusion? I'm guessing stereotypes."

He replied: "History."

Tom McBroom

Along with serving in law enforcement, McBroom is an elected official in Elysian, Minn., a small southwestern Minnesota town.

Reynolds' lawyer, Michael Padden, called McBroom's comments "racist" and "false."

"It is sad and disturbing that a member of law enforcement not only has these thoughts, but then articulates them on social media for the whole world to see," Padden said in a statement on Friday.

"Ms. Reynolds has never used crack cocaine nor does she have any convictions her entire life for any drug related offenses. One then has to reasonably wonder: how did Sgt. McBroom come up with this?

"Is it solely due to the fact that Ms. Reynolds is African American?"

Reynolds was in the passenger seat and her 4-year-old daughter was in the backseat of the car when Jeronimo Yanez, then a St. Anthony Police Department officer, killed her boyfriend during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016 in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. Yanez fired his weapon into Castile's car seven times. Reynolds used Facebook Live to share the incident.

Even though Castile had a permit to carry a firearm and informed the officer of this fact, Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter charges in June. Following the acquittal, a video made available shows footage of Reynolds, handcuffed, in the backseat of a police squad car with her daughter. Reynolds pleaded with her viewers on Facebook Live to pray for her. She also repeatedly asked to be removed from handcuffs so she could hold her child.

CBS Minnesota reports that jurors did not see the video of Reynolds in the squad car, citing that prosecutors chose to focus more on the dashcam footage from Yanez's car.

In regard to the tweets, City Pages reported that when initially contacting McBroom to confirm his identity, he replied, "Who said I was law enforcement or council member. I'm a general contractor. Wrong person. Sorry."

But he later called and admitted to denying his identity, "Just to screw with you. Because I can."

McBroom said his comments weren't racist. He said he thought purchasing crack cocaine was popular in cities.

"I have friends of mine in the Minneapolis Police Department. And you know, that's an epidemic up there, crack cocaine and opioids."

Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn said he learned about McBroom's tweets Wednesday evening.

"I just want to say the comments don't reflect the beliefs or opinions of anybody here at the sheriff's office in our administration or patrol," Dunn said, according to the StarTribune.

A court still must approve Reynolds' settlement. Once approved, a portion of it will be placed into a trust for her daughter and her future educational needs, the city's statement said.

Reynolds said last week that the settlement shows what she and her daughter endured "was wrong." While no amount of money can erase the pain of losing Castile, she said, "I do hope closing this chapter will allow us to get our lives back and move forward."

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