Officer Jeronimo Yanez Who Shot Philando Castile Charged With Manslaughter!
ST. PAUL (NYT) The suburban police officer who killed Philando Castile, an African-American driver whose graphic death was streamed live on Facebook, was charged on Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter, as prosecutors heeded the calls of protesters who marched for weeks calling for an arrest.
The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, who will appear in court on Friday, was also charged with two felony counts of intentional discharge of a dangerous weapon.
“No reasonable officer — knowing, seeing and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time — would have used deadly force under these circumstances,” the Ramsey County attorney, John J. Choi, said.
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Mr. Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, was stopped in the small suburb of Falcon Heights on July 6 by Officer Yanez of the St. Anthony police on a busy stretch of road near the state fairgrounds.
The authorities said Officer Yanez had fatally shot Mr. Castile in reaction to a gun, and a lawyer for Officer Yanez said that Mr. Castile had not followed the officer’s commands.
But Mr. Castile’s girlfriend streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live, claiming that her boyfriend had a license to carry a weapon and that he had been trying to tell Officer Yanez about the gun. Mr. Castile had been pulled over dozens of times before without conflict, and those who knew him recalled him as a calm, peaceful man.
Mr. Choi revealed new information about the traffic stop, saying that Mr. Castile had “calmly and in a nonthreatening manner” disclosed that he was carrying a gun and that Officer Yanez had replied, “Don’t reach for it, then.”
“Castile tried to respond, but was interrupted by Officer Yanez, who said, ‘Don’t pull it out,’” Mr. Choi said on Wednesday as he announced the charges. “Castile responded, ‘I’m not pulling it out.’”
But Officer Yanez then “screamed, ‘Don’t pull it out’” and fired seven rounds from his gun, Mr. Choi said, surprising the other officer on the scene and fatally wounding Mr. Castile.
What happened in recent cases where blacks were killed by the police or died in police custody.Mr. Choi said paramedics later found Mr. Castile’s weapon, a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun, in the pocket of his shorts. There was no round in the chamber, and Mr. Choi said he believed Mr. Castile had never tried to draw the weapon.
“His dying words were in protest that he wasn’t reaching for his gun,” Mr. Choi said.
A lawyer for Officer Yanez and an official with the union representing St. Anthony police officers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Castile’s death attracted almost immediate international attention, largely because of the graphic Facebook video, leading to days of tense protest. The governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, suggested that Mr. Castile’s race might have played a role in the shooting. Demonstrators spent days camped outside the governor’s residence, and at one point blocked traffic and threw objects at officers on a nearby interstate.
Mr. Castile’s death was among several cases in Minnesota that have raised questions about race and policing. Last year, a Minneapolis officer fatally shot Jamar Clark, another black man, in an incident that also set off protests. And this year, an officer in suburban Edina was criticized by activists for confronting a black pedestrian, and a St. Paul officer was suspended after a police dog bit a man and a colleague kicked him.
Lets all hope this brings Justice for Philando!