How to avoid becoming the next Philando Castile, what to do if you’re stopped by cops

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HOUSTON - Let's keep it real. If you're a black man out driving the roads in America, you're gonna get stopped.

"They just pulled me over and got my license, got my registration, and checked it in the computer," says Ryan Thornton, an African American man living in Houston. "And just gave it back to me, and were like, 'Alright, you can go.' They didn't tell me a reason why... nothing."

In Minnesota, the cop who pulled Philando Castile over actually had a reason-- a broken taillight. But that was no reason he should end up dead.

That's why, brothers, NewsFix wanted to find out what you can do to keep this from happening to you.

"If you're stopped by a police officer," explains Joe Gamaldi with the Houston Police Officers' Union, "the most important thing you can do is take your hands and put them 10 and 2 on the steering wheel. Because as we approach the vehicle, we're going to be able to see your hands and know that you're not a threat to us."

Forget about going for your license or registration, trying to speed up the process.

"It's not a very good idea as we're walking up to be reaching in the glove box or reaching in the center console," says Gamaldi, "Wait for us to come up to the vehicle and ask, and we'll let you know, 'Go ahead and get your driver's license and insurance.'"

According to Diamond Reynolds' Facebook Live video, Castile did all that: "(The officer) asked him for license and registration. He told that man that it was in his wallet, but he had a pistol on him because he's licensed to carry. And the officer told him, 'Don't move,' and as he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in his arm about four or five times."

So what do you do if you have a gun in the car when you're pulled over?

"Let them know, 'I have a firearm inside the vehicle,'" says Gamaldi. "And let them know where it is. Do not reach for that firearm. Wait for the officer to give you instructions, comply with what he's telling you to do.  We'll go home safe! You'll go home safe!"

If only it were that easy.