Castile Shooting Acquittal Sees Thousands Protest

  • Castile Shooting Acquittal Sees Thousands Protest

Castile Shooting Acquittal Sees Thousands Protest

The furious mother of the man fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer a year ago has said she hopes the officer who shot him dies tonight.

Friday night protesters again blocked an interstate highway after the police officer who shot Castile was acquitted.

St. Anthony Police Department officer 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.

(David Joles/Star Tribune via AP, File).

Castile's mother, Valerie, who addressed the crowd Friday after leaving the court, blasted the decision. They began deliberations following closing arguments on Monday.

Reynolds broadcast a Facebook live video immediately after the shooting, in which she questioned the officer and managed to capture Castile's last words. Yanez had initially singled out Castile for a traffic stop because the officer thought he bared a resemblance to a robbery suspect.

The 12-member jury, comprised of two African Americans and 10 white jurors, arrived at the conclusion after deliberating for 29 hours over five straight days.

In reaction to the verdict, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton offered his condolences to the Castile family, calling his death "a awful tragedy" in a statement that made no mention of Yanez. Their murders sparked mass protests around demands to punish the officers responsible and end police violence.

Yes, the evidence indicates that Yanez was afraid for his life. They spent a lot of time dissecting the “culpable negligence” requirement for conviction, and the last two holdouts eventually agreed Friday on acquittal.

"We struggled with it". I struggled with it. "We're very happy. Yanez was innocent". The rest were white.

Castiles shooting was among a string of killings of blacks by police around the USA, including two other cases on trial this week in OH and Wisconsin.

In addition to the second-degree manslaughter charge, Yanez was also acquitted of two lesser charges of endangering the safety of Castile's girlfriend and young daughter, who were in the vehicle when Castile was shot and killed.

"In the stream", as The Two-Way reported, "she said Castile was stopped for a broken taillight, had notified the officer that he was licensed to carry a handgun and was reaching for his wallet at the officer's request when he was shot". Yanez asked for Castile's license.

According to prosecutors, Yanez overreacted in the situation and Castile was not a threat to him. A key part of the prosecution case was statements Yanez made that seemed to suggest he didn't know where the gun was. He testified that when he told a supervisor he didn't know where it was, he meant only at first. Prosecutor John Choi said the acquittal was painful, but that the verdict "must be respected". They repeatedly ordered them to disperse, and just before 1 a.m., patrol officers arrested the 18 people, including a working reporter, City Pages' Susan Du. "So i'm forced to confront, and I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront, that this kind of racism exists".

"The system continues to fail black people I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota".

Yanez stared ahead with no reaction as the verdict was read.

“We were confident in our client. "He made a frightful mistake", Choi said after the verdict, referring to the officer.

Protesters march on University Avenue in St. Paul on Friday, June 16. Castile family lawyer Glenda Hatchett vowed to continue fighting.

Squad video shows Kauser was standing on the passenger side of the auto and jumping back when the shots were fired. 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". Castile appears to give something to Yanez through the driver's side window. Moments later Yanez fired seven shots, five of which hit Castile. "I didn't want to shoot Mr. Castile", he testified, "I thought I was going to die".

Yanez was charged last November with one count of felony second-degree manslaughter in Castile's death. Prosecutors maintained that Yanez put their lives in danger when he opened fire into the vehicle.

Associated Press writer Doug Glass contributed from Minneapolis.