Officer acquitted in Castile shooting; thousands protest

Officer acquitted in Castile shooting; thousands protest

A jury on Friday acquitted a Minnesota police officer on all counts nearly one year after he fatally shot a black motorist during a traffic stop.

The prosecution argued that Yanez never actually saw the gun and overreacted to Castile, who was legally carrying a gun. Reynolds - who was in the vehicle along with the couple's 4-year-old daughter, who was in the backseat - replied, "He was just getting his license and registration, sir".

Reynolds testified that she began recording the shooting's aftermath because she feared for her life and wanted to make sure the truth was known. "The jury has now resolved the legal issue of criminality by acquitting Officer Jeronimo Yanez", she said.

"You all murdered my friend and got away with it!" he shouted. Flowers piled up and a handwritten sign said, "I will miss you".

Castile, a elementary school cafeteria supervisor was a role model to hundreds of children, memorizing their names and food allergies before he senselessly was shot and killed.

The acquittal of officer Jeronimo Yanez in the shooting death of Philandro Castile got off in a manner that supporters of the Castile family had hoped would not come to pass. During the trial, Yanez's partner - Joseph Kauser - also took the stand, admitting that the officer believed Castile resembled a robbery suspect.

Yanez proceeded to tell him not to reach for it, to which Castile replied that he wasn't. In it, Mr Castile can be seen bleeding to death in the driver's seat.

After the verdict was announced, Castile's family addressed the media, applauding the efforts of Special Prosecutor Don Lewis and his team. Castile said that he wasn't reaching for it while Yanez twice said, "don't pull it out".

"I don't doubt that Officer Yanez is a decent person, but he made a awful mistake from our perspective, and that's what this case was about. Did they just say, 'Oh, it's Friday and I want to go home?' This was not justice at all". Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, abruptly left the court after the announcement and before court was formally dismissed.

July 9: Attorney Thomas Kelly says Yanez was reacting to the presence of the gun when he opened fire on Castile. Yanez told Castile to leave his weapon alone.

Yanez's lawyers alleged Castile had been smoking marijuana the day of the shooting, which they said affected his judgment.

Philando Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, said she was "mad as hell" with the verdict and called Yanez a "murderer".

Yanez, 29, who is Latino, had been on the St. Anthony Police Department for four years when he pulled over Castile on July 6, 2016 in nearby Falcon Heights, another suburb of St. Paul.

"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.

February 8: Attorneys for Yanez say in court documents that Castile's gun was accessible and that he was reaching for it when he was killed.

Squad-car video played for the jury shows a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting, with the camera pointed toward Castile's auto. He was shot five times seconds after he informed Yanez during a traffic stop that he was carrying a gun.

St. Paul police estimated that 2,000 people marched peacefully through the streets, including a crowd gathered outside the Minnesota state Capitol.

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