ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — 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. Castile’s family claimed he was profiled because of his race, and the shooting renewed concerns about how police officers interact with minorities. Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton also weighed in, saying he did not think the shooting would have happened if Castile had been white.

Castile’s family reacted angrily to the verdict. His mother, Valerie Castile, stood and swore when it was read. His sister and others sobbed loudly. Family members immediately tried to leave the courtroom, and did so after security officers briefly barred their way.

Yanez was charged with second-degree manslaughter, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, though sentencing guidelines suggest around four years is more likely. He also faced two lesser counts of endangering Castile’s girlfriend and her then-4-year-old daughter for firing his gun into the car near them.

The jury got the case Monday, after just five days of testimony, evidence and arguments. The 12-member jury included two blacks. The rest were white. None was Latino.

Yanez testified that he stopped Castile in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights because he thought the 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker looked like one of two men who had robbed a nearby convenience store a few days earlier. Castile’s car had a faulty brake light, giving the 29-year-old officer a legally sufficient pretext for pulling him over, several experts testified.

Squad-car video played repeatedly for the jury shows a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting, with the camera pointed toward Castile’s car. While it captures what was said between the two men and shows Yanez firing into the vehicle, it does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez might have seen.

The video shows the situation escalated quickly, with Yanez shooting Castile just seconds after Castile volunteered, “Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me.” Five of the officer’s seven shots struck Castile. Witnesses testified that the gun was in a pocket of Castile’s shorts when paramedics removed him from his vehicle.

Prosecutors called several witnesses to try to show that Yanez never saw the gun and acted recklessly and unreasonably. But defense attorneys called their own witnesses to back up Yanez’s claim that he saw Castile pulling the gun and that Yanez was right to shoot.

After shooting Castile, Yanez is heard on the squad-car video telling a supervisor variously that he didn’t know where Castile’s gun was, then that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Yanez testified, “What I meant by that was I didn’t know where the gun was up until I saw it in his right thigh area.”

He said he clearly saw a gun and that Castile ignored his commands to stop pulling it out of his pocket. His voice choked with emotion as he talked of being “scared to death” and thinking of his wife and baby daughter in the split-second before he fired.

Prosecutors argued that Yanez could have taken lesser steps, such as asking to see Castile’s hands or asking where the gun was. After Castile told the officer he had the gun, Yanez told Castile, “OK, don’t reach for it then,” and, “Don’t pull it out.”

On the squad-car video, Castile can be heard saying, “I’m not pulling it out,” as Yanez opened fire. Prosecutors said Castile’s last words were, “I wasn’t reaching for it.”

Reynolds testified that she began recording the shooting’s aftermath because she feared for her life and wanted to make sure the truth was known. Defense attorneys pointed to inconsistencies in several of her statements.

Defense attorneys also argued that Castile was high on marijuana and said that affected his behavior. But a prosecution expert testified there’s no way to tell when Castile last smoked marijuana or whether he was high.

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33 thoughts on “Minnesota Officer Acquitted In Shooting Of Philando Castile

  1. Tony on said:

    This whole thing angers me. Saddens me. The reaction by the so whites on this board is appalling & dispicable. They alone show the lack of respect for black life. To make these jokes. I also heard the two that didn’t want to vote not guilty weren’t the black jurors. I highly doubt that. I just think that’s said because they both probably fear repercussions for their own life from the Police. Plus the judge withheld statements. Bob ploussarf the lead juror said he felt so bad he couldn’t look at the castille family. Probably because he new they were wrong the minute he had to announce it.

  2. specialt757 on said:

    @Jose’
    “One person had been hit in the hip by gunfire and another was hit by a vehicle, officials said.
    The incident started because of an argument about traffic, officials said.”

    I see nothing here about the race of the suspect or victim. This incident started over a traffic argument, no further details, at least in the article you presented.

  3. WOW I would have never guessed and acquittal in this case I do think the officer over reacted, after all he was in the confines of his vehicle where could he have gone or seek evasive cover

  4. Mac Ben on said:

    He was at least guilty of manslaughter. This episode shows the value of black life– remember this when you are out kissing white folks (and others with good hair) assses. We are the least valued on earth largely due to how we act in public…loud, obnoxious with funky attitudes…crazy-ass names and sub-standard educations. We don’t produce anything, we don’t own anything and we contribute very little. Help me, help us get right.

    • Dr. Larry on said:

      Black women have an average net worth of $5. Ain’t that some shiggidy? But they always got 2 things on hand, or head, weave and weed.

    • specialt757 on said:

      @Mac
      I agree with you 1000% Although it is not our RACISM exist in this country (IT WILL ALWAYS EXIST whether you believe in it or not, it’s here to stay), we could definitely do our part in making our lives a lot better. We only have control over one thing, OUR ATTITUDES.

  5. mrknowitall on said:

    Castile died because two black supremests robbed a convience store causing a string of events to unfold.
    If not for the black people comitting a robery, Castile wouldn’t have been pulled over for the robbery. The convenience story robbers should be on trial for murder

    • Dr. Larry on said:

      Video confirmed it was P-Lo who robbed the convenience store. Anyone say Michael Brown, the Gentle Giant? This ain’t Obama’s wild west with no law for blacks no more. New Sherriff in town and Trump don’t play games

    • specialt757 on said:

      “The convenience story robbers should be on trial for murder”
      No the scared bitch who killed him should have been on trial for murder, unfortunately for Castile’s family, his life like the lives of other blacks in this country and around the globe DON’T MATTER.

    • specialt757 on said:

      “The convenience story robbers should be on trial for murder”
      No, the scared bitch who killed him should have been on trial for murder, unfortunately for Castile’s family, his life like the lives of other blacks in this country and around the globe DON’T MATTER.

  6. Butter Pecan on said:

    The officer was already on alert after the convenience store robbery and Castile looked like one of the robbery suspects. He radioed his partner that he was going to pull the car over because “[t]he two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery,” Minnesota’s Star Tribune reported. He also had legal grounds to pull Castile over because he was driving with a broken brake light.
    Yanez walked up to the car, and he could smell burnt or burning marijuana, he testified.
    The officer told the jury he saw Castile’s hand on the gun and Castile did not follow his instructions not to reach for the gun. He told the jury, “I told him, ‘Don’t pull it out,” but when he saw Castile pull out the top of the gun, “That’s when I engaged Mr. Castile and shot him.”
    The officer testified when he saw Castile’s gun, “my family popped into my head. My wife. My baby girl.” “I did not want to shoot Mr. Castile at all.” “Those were not my intentions.”

  7. Dr. Larry on said:

    Reynolds testified that she began recording the shooting’s aftermath because she feared for her life and wanted to make sure the truth was known. Defense attorneys pointed to inconsistencies in several of her statements. Translation, Diamond She-Nay-Nay LIED under oath

  8. Melvinowens on said:

    If this so-called man was so scared, he shouldn’t be a cop. All these people that are saying they feared for their life a re the biggest cowards on the planet. I have lived in the black community all of my 65 years and I have never carried a gun and have never been shot or shot at by anyone in my community. This coward should hide in the house if he fears for his life. Death comes to us all when the most high decides it is our time and no amount of fear will stop it

    • Grady White on said:

      Pretty reasonable to be on edge approaching a suspect matching the description of a recent convenience store robbery, smoke pouring out the car like Cheech and Chong, 2 busted tail lights, and a gun hanging out his pocket within easy reach

      • Grady White on said:

        Video evidence Lady Di. Have you not seen these 2 fools hot box her 4 y/o in a car seat with plumes of smoke? Products of the Obozo administration of no accountability for your actions.

      • Diane on said:

        Crissy is this u?? It reads like something u would say. You’re just changing your name. Lady Di. I like that. Lol

      • specialt757 on said:

        @Diane,
        You’re right! That’s shay whitey himself, chris, he just changed his screen name. Same ole rhetoric, Obama hater, either him or Jose’, they’re one in the same, both are cowards, wouldn’t say ¼ of the shit if they were in a room full of black folks. Scared bitches.

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