Philando Castile's Mother Calls for Federal Prosecution of Yanez
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 18, 2017,
Jun 18, 2017, 15:16
Yanez fired seven bullets into Castile's vehicle shortly after the 32-year-old black man disclosed that he was carrying a firearm.
Jeronimo Yanez, 29, was found not guilty of all three charges he faced in the death of 32-year-old Philando Castile: Second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of intentional discharge of a risky weapon for endangering the safety of Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter.
After being urged by YWCA St. Paul chair Beverly Jones Heydinger to "move beyond 'The Nice, ' " the participants broke into clusters to discuss their reactions to Yanez's acquittal.
Castile, a black motorist, was killed during a traffic stop last July by officer Jeronimo Yanez in Falcon Heights, a St. Paul suburb. When he pulled Castile over, Castile immediately informed him that he was lawfully carrying a gun.
Castile had a permit for the weapon, and prosecutors questioned whether Yanez ever saw it.
Castile was shot with Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter in the auto. The public outcry included protests in Minnesota that shut down highways and surrounded the governor's mansion.
Castile's death was part of a series of high-profile shootings of African-Americans by police. After the verdict was read Friday afternoon, the city of St. Anthony swiftly announced plans to dismiss Yanez, despite his acquittal.
Valerie Castile spoke about her son outside the courthouse following the verdict.
Some of the protesters that the Minnesota State Patrol estimated to be about 500 people made their way onto Interstate 94 and blocked traffic for more than an hour.
Yanez faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on the second-degree manslaughter charge, though sentencing guidelines suggest around four years is more likely. He said, "Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me". Two holdouts eventually agreed after five days. The rest of the jurors are white.
"My boyfriend, Philando Castile, was pulled over because, per officer Yanez, he had a wide nose and looked like a suspect", said Reynolds.
There was also video of the shooting captured from a camera mounted on the dashboard in Yanez's squad vehicle. The video showed blood oozing through Castile's shirt as he appeared to lose consciousness.
"Like I said, because this happened with Philando, and when they get done with us, they are coming for you and all your interracial children". But moments later Yanez fired seven shots while Castile was still buckled into his seat.
SC officer Michael Slager, who is white, shot black motorist Walter Scott in the back as he fled from a traffic stop. The dead man had told the policeman he had a gun elsewhere in the vehicle. The AP reported, citing prosecutors, Castile's last words were: "I wasn't reaching for it".
Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, testified that her boyfriend was simply reaching for his wallet to give Yanez the driver's license he asked for.
Circumstances of the shooting led to weeks of protests past year in St. Paul and the adjoining city of Minneapolis, and fueled a national debate about the appropriate use of force by police against racial minorities.
She has hired attorneys and plans a lawsuit.