Minnesota Cop, Jeronimo Yanez who shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop has been slapped with a charge of second-degree manslaughter.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said the use of force by St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez was not justified. A review of dashboard camera video revealed that “no reasonable officer” would have used deadly force in this circumstance, Choi said.
Minnesota policeman charged with manslaughter in July shooting death of black motorist Philando Castile https://t.co/xysVehSVR5 🔓
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 16, 2016
“Philando Castile was not resisting or fleeing,” Choi added at a press conference Wednesday. “There was absolutely no criminal intent exhibited by him throughout this encounter. …He was respectful and compliant. … He volunteered in good faith that he had a firearm beyond what the law requires.”
The beloved school cafeteria manager was shot and killed by Yanez during a routine traffic stop. The shooting unleashed days of protests and some violent clashes between demonstrators and police.
An NPR review of court records showed that Castile, a 32-year-old black man, had been stopped 46 times before by police.
Choi says that when Castile was stopped July 6 in Falcon Heights, Minn., the car was registered under his name and his license was not suspended. Choi did not release dashcam video, but described it as showing Castile turning over his proof of insurance and then “calmly and in a non-threatening manner” informing the officer that he was carrying a weapon.
Yanez warned Castile not to reach for the gun. He shot Castile seven times within a minute of the traffic stop.
Castile, 32, had “calmly and in a non-threatening manner” told Yanez that he was carrying a weapon, recounted Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, the Daily News stated.
Minn. officer charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting Philando Castile during incident streamed on Facebook. https://t.co/g6qMMQJgrq
— lori aratani (@loriara) November 16, 2016
Though Castile never tried to remove the .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun buried deep in the front pocket of his shorts, Yanez started screaming then opened fire, authorities said.
The dying Castile’s last words, as captured by the police recordings: “I wasn’t reaching for it.”
A second-by-second breakdown of the incident showed just 62 seconds elapsed between the traffic stop and the fatal shooting of a fully-cooperative Castile.
“We’re finally getting some justice for some things that shouldn’t be happening,” the victim’s uncle, Tracy Castile, 51, told the Daily News.
“I’m grateful that there are good people in the world. The attorney general saw what was right and he did the right thing … I thought maybe it would be murder charges, but this is definitely a step in the right direction”
Yanez was the first Minnesota police officer charged in a police-involved shooting since 2000, a period that covered more than 150 such incidents.
“Jeronimo Yanez caused the death of Philando Castle by culpable negligence,” said the criminal complaint. “Yanez created an unreasonable risk, and consciously took the chance of causing death or great bodily harm to another.”
The murder of #PhilandoCastile proves that the right to bear arms simply does not apply equally to Black folk. Not at all.
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 16, 2016
Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds recorded the shooting’s bloody aftermath on a Facebook live stream. Her young daughter also witnessed the shooting from the back seat of the car.
If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison on the charges of second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm in the fatal July 6 shooting.
A lawyer for Officer Yanez and an official with the union representing St. Anthony police officers did not immediately respond to requests for comment, according to the New York Times.
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.
Well, this news seems to serve as the silver lining in a gloomy justice system in our country. Nevertheless, there have been many occurrences were the violent cops were later freed of all charges. We hope this isn’t going to happen once again. Full justice must be served and the killer cop must be duly punished for his sacrilegious act. The family of Philando Castile has waited for the justice it deserves for too long.