Minnesota Officer Charged With Manslaughter In Shooting Death Of Philando Castile

Posted: Nov 16, 2016 12:40 PM

While the story has fallen off the media radar due to the 2016 campaign season, the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile in St. Paul has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after a lengthy investigation. Castile was shot during a routine traffic stop, where his shocked girlfriend livestreamed his death on Facebook. There were questions as to what happened prior to the shooting since it began as Castile was dying in the driver's seat (via ABC News):

St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot the 32-year-old during a July 6 traffic stop in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights. Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the car along with her young daughter at the time. The woman said Castile was shot several times while reaching for his ID after telling Yanez he had a gun permit and was armed.

Yanez's attorney, Tom Kelly, has said Yanez, who is Latino, was reacting to the presence of a gun, and that one reason Yanez pulled Castile over was because he thought he looked like a possible match for an armed robbery suspect.

But family members claimed Castile, an elementary school cafeteria worker, was racially profiled.

The New York Times added:

The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, who will appear in court on Friday, was also charged with two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.

“It is my conclusion that the use of deadly force by Officer Yanez was not justified and that sufficient facts exist to prove this to be true,” John J. Choi, the Ramsey County attorney, said.

The Star Tribune, CBS News, and other local media outlets confirmed that Castile had a gun permit, with Officer Yanez’s lawyer saying that he did think Castile matched the description of an armed robbery suspect. Castile’s death was part of a string of police-involved shootings that lead to the deaths of two other African-American men in Louisiana and North Carolina. A day prior to Castile’s death, Alton Sterling’s death was recorded by bystanders in the parking lot of a local store in Baton Rouge. In September, Keith Lamont Scott was killed in Charlotte, North Carolina. The autopsy revealed that he was shot once in the back, in the arm, and in the stomach, but police say he was armed and refused police commands to drop his weapon. Sterling was also reportedly armed at the time he was shot and killed by police. 

These shooting deaths set off intense protests, especially in Charlotte, where the National Guard was deployed