Judge Denies Dismissial of Charges Against Police Officer Who Killed Philando Castile

A judge is set to hear arguments on whether to dismiss the case against a Minnesota police officer who shot and killed a black man during a July traffic stop.

A judge will decide the fate of the suburban Minneapolis police officer charged in the shooting death of Philando Castile previous year, in a high profile case that was among several that sent waves of protests regarding the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement.

Defense attorneys have also argued that Castile was negligent in his own death, that he was impaired by marijuana, and that he had no right to be carrying a gun or driving while under the influence.

Prosecutors said those issues should be decided by a jury.

A decision is expected to be made during Wednesday's court appearance.

Castile, 32, was shot and killed by Officer Yanez during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights on July 6. Castile's girlfriend was in the vehicle with him and streamed the shooting's aftermath live on Facebook.

A Minnesota judge dismissed Officer Jeronimo Yanez's request to dismiss charges against him.

"I can assure you that we're going to have experts at trial that we've already worked with - that have already looked at this - and they will testify without hesitation that what officer Yanez did was clearly reasonable and justified and authorized use of force on his part", Gray said. On Wednesday Yanez's defense team and prosecutors faced off in Ramsey County Court, each making their arguments to Judge William H. Leary on the motion to drop charges in this high-profile case. They said Yanez responded accordingly when he shot Philando Castile.

At that juncture, prosecutors say Yanez shouted "Don't reach for it" one more time, then rapidly fired his gun seven times. The prosecution says Castile was simply pulling out his wallet as asked, when the officer began yelling "don't reach for it", with both Castile and his girlfriend insisting he wasn't "reaching for it". But Leary says a victim's unreasonable conduct is never an absolute defense to a criminal charge.

Castile's girlfriend streamed the shooting's gruesome aftermath live on Facebook.

  • Larry Hoffman