Minnesota Officer Cleared Of Second-Degree Manslaughter In Castile Shooting

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jun 16, 2017 5:11 PM
Minnesota Officer Cleared Of Second-Degree Manslaughter In Castile Shooting

In July of 2016, Philando Castile was shot and killed by Officer Jeronimo Yanez during a routine traffic stop in Minnesota. It was made more infamous when his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed Castile’s final moments online. The prosecution argued that Castile was not a threat, and that Officer Yanez overreacted. Officer Yanez said that Castile was reaching for his firearm, despite being told repeatedly not to move. Castile had a valid concealed carry permit. A jury acquitted Officer Yanez of the charges filed against him, the most serious being second-degree manslaughter. Officer Yanez is in the clear legally, but he's expected to lose his job after this incident (via USA Today):

 A Minnesota police officer was acquitted of manslaughter Friday in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a black motorist whose girlfriend streamed the aftermath live on Facebook.

Jeronimo Yanez was also cleared of two lesser charges in the July traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb. Jurors deliberated for about 29 hours over five days before reaching the verdict in the death of Castile, who was shot just seconds after informing Yanez that he was carrying a gun.

Yanez, who is Latino, testified that Castile was pulling his gun out of his pocket despite his commands not to do so. The defense also argued Castile was high on marijuana and said that affected his actions.

Castile had a permit for the weapon, and prosecutors questioned whether Yanez ever saw it. They argued that the officer overreacted and that Castile was not a threat.

Castile’s shooting was among a string of killings of blacks by police around the U.S., and the livestreaming of its aftermath by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, attracted even more attention. The public outcry included protests in Minnesota that shut down highways and surrounded the governor’s mansion.