June 23, 2017

Minnesota officer acquitted in shooting of Philando Castile

17 June 2017, 07:32 | Guillermo Sutton

AP Images

Jury Acquits Minnesota Officer in Shooting Death of Black Motorist

A Minnesota police officer was acquitted on Friday in the slaying of a black motorist he shot five times during a traffic stop a year ago, in an incident that drew national attention after the victim's girlfriend live-streamed the bloody aftermath on social media.

Following a four-month investigation of the fatal officer-involved shooting, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi charged Yanez with manslaughter in the death of Castile, and two counts of risky discharge of a firearm for the exposure of Reynolds and her daughter to the gunfire.

Yanez was charged with endangering the lives of Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter, who was in the auto during the shooting, but found not guilty.

A police officer is acquitted of manslaughter for the fatal shooting of a black motorist.

"I am incredibly disappointed with the jury's verdict". Yanez counters that he believed Castile was a suspect in a convenience store robbery that had occurred four days earlier. But [Mr. Gray, a lawyer for Officer Yanez] said that this approach made sense, and that Officer Yanez had acted reasonably given his training and what he knew that night. Yanez shot Philando Castile five times just seconds after Castile informed him he was carrying a gun.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said at a news conference that charges were brought against Yanez because Castile complied with the officer's commands and posed no imminent threat.

St. Paul Public Schools, where Castile was employed as a cafeteria worker, described Castile as a "beloved employee". The defense also said that Castile was high on marijuana at the time of the shooting, which affected his judgment. Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the passenger seat and her young daughter was in the back. "There has always been a systemic problem in the state of Minnesota, and me thinking, common sense that we would get justice", she said.

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"The system continues to fail black people, and it will continue to fail you all", his mother Valarie Castile said to reporters."My son loved this city and this city killed my son". Jeronimo Yanez opened fire on Castile July 6, 2016 after pulling Castile over for a traffic stop.

Prosecutors tried to show that Yanez didn't follow all the proper procedures and that his comments to investigators differed from day to day.

During the stop, Castile told police that he was a lawful gun carrier and had the gun and his permit on his person. Wilson is black. The defense did not say whether race was a reason.

During the two-week trial, prosecutors argued that Yanez was a nervous officer who lost control of his traffic stop. Choi said under Minnesota law, as written, the deadly use of force in Castile's death was not justified.

Before this week's deliberations, the testimony revolved around whether Yanez saw Castile reach for a weapon.

Yanez is no longer a police officer with the St. Anthony Police Department, the city announced on Friday.

"He killed my boyfriend", Reynolds is heard saying in the video.

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