Yesterday, Women's March organizer Tamika Mallory debated NRA spokesperson and ad star Dana Loesch on CNN. Mallory slammed Loesch and the NRA for their "narrow" representation of progressive protests and also addressed Women's March protesters' repeated calls for the gun organization to demand the United States Department of Justice indict the officer who killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in July 2016.
Minnesota Police officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot Castile, who had a gun but also a concealed carry permit, in his car. Yanez was recently acquitted. The NRA issued a non-statement about Castile's killing on July 8.
Here's a snippet of the debate:
Watch the whole thing here.
Pressed by the CNN host, Loesch, who was speaking on behalf of the NRA, said Castile's death was “absolutely awful” and “a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided."
Here's what Loesch told CNN:
I don’t agree with every single decision that comes out from courtrooms of America. There are a lot of variables in this particular case and there were a lot of things that I wish would have been done differently. Do I believe that Philando Castile deserved to lose his life over a [traffic] stop? I absolutely do not. I also think that this is why we have things like NRA carry guard, not only to reach out to the citizens to go over what to do during stops like this, but also to work with law enforcement so that they understand what citizens are experiencing when they go through stops like this.
But ultimately, Loesch's statement won't lead to justice for Castile, Mallory said.
What we would like to see is the same effort that was put into this ad that was put out there, that is dangerous to Black and brown people and protesters, we want to see the same type of effort and energy put into speaking on behalf of Philando Castile... Black people are not allowed to reach for their concealed carry record because if we reach anywhere, we are shot and killed.
In a letter to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, Mallory wrote that calling for the Department of Justice to indict Yanez "is clearly in line with the mission and purpose of the NRA as an organization that purports to be the lobby and defender of the right to bear arms."
To continue demanding justice for Castile, Women's March organizers are leading a 17-mile walk from the NRA's headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia to the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. on July 14.