Thousands in Minnesota protest the Philando Castile shooting verdict

St. Anthony Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, in July 2016.

On Friday morning, Yanez, 29, was cleared of a manslaughter charge as well as two lesser charges.

A group of protestors peeled off from the pack and headed to Interstate 94 in St. Paul; the freeway was shutdown in both directions.

In the aftermath of the verdict that saw the police officer who shot and killed her son go unpunished, Philando Castile's mother is speaking out. A Minnesota police officer was cleared Friday in the fatal shooting of Castile, a black motorist whose death captured national attention when his girlfriend streamed the grim aftermath on Facebook.

Mr Castile's mother spoke to the media after the acquittal, expressing anger and sorrow with the verdict. "While many officers carry out their jobs with respect for the communities they serve, we must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement", Nelson said. The defence also argued Castile was high on marijuana and said that affected his actions. Yanez had initially singled out Castile for a traffic stop because the officer thought he bared a resemblance to a robbery suspect. The vigil was held after St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez was cleared of all charges in the fatal shooting past year of Castile. When he pulled Castile over, Castile immediately informed him that he was lawfully carrying a gun.

"We've got to think bigger than that", she said.

Last year, Philando Castile's death sent shock waves across the country and the internet when the aftermath of his shooting was live-streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, while her 4-year-old daughter sat in the back seat of the auto. Castile's girlfirend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the auto at the time and began live-streaming the event in the moments after the shots were fired.

"The system in this country continues to fail black people and will continue to fail us", she added. Reynolds' four-year-old daughter was also in the auto.

Only one police officer in recent publicized cases is facing jail time.

Yanez, the son of a Mexican immigrant, testified during the trial in Ramsey County District Court that he feared for his life after Castile began reaching for a firearm that Castile had disclosed he had in his possession.

Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was with him in the vehicle when Castile was fatally shot by Yanez.

It wasn't about the conviction of a single police officer, she said.

January 9: Leary denies a request from the American Civil Liberties Union to release squad auto video of Castile's shooting.

July 13: Police arrest 42 protesters who block traffic on Interstate 35W near downtown Minneapolis during the morning rush.

Holmes, as well as others who attended Sunday's rally - steps from where her son was shot - said she wasn't surprised by the verdict.

The protesters gathered at the Minnesota state Capitol in St. Paul, holding "Black Lives Matter" signs and chanting "No Justice, No Peace!"

  • Leroy Wright