Officer Responsible For Fatally Shooting Philando Castile Charged With Manslaughter
Prosecutor John J. Choi of Ramsey County, Minnesota announced today that Officer Jeronimo Yanez will face three criminal charges for shooting and killing Philando Castile in July. Castile’s death, if you will recall, came just a day after the police-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Choi said that Yanez’s use of deadly force was not justified as he “never removed or tried to remove” the gun he had in his pocket during the traffic stop. Yanez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. The latter charges were applied since both Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old child were present in the car and put in danger during the shooting.
Officer Yanez killed 32-year-old Philando Castile on July 6 during a stop in Falcon Heights. The St. Anthony police officer shot Castile after spotting his gun, and the New York Times reported that Yanez’s lawyer claims that Castile didn’t follow commands. However, in Facebook live video recorded by Castile’s partner, Diamond Reynolds, she said that Castile was license to carry his weapon and was trying to make Yanez aware of his gun when he was shot. The livestream video showed Castile bleeding with the officer standing nearby, and it was viewed millions of times. Those who knew Castile had nothing but great things to say about the school cafeteria manager following his death, and those who didn’t know him, for the most part, were demanding action.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Yanez is the first officer since 2000 to be charged in a police-involved death in Minnesota, this despite there being more than 150 deaths involving police in the state since that time.
Choi came to his conclusion after receiving evidence and going through it since September 28, following the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s findings. Yanez and the officer who worked with him on that day, Joseph Kauser, were placed on administrative leave during the investigations. Kauser won’t face any charges, according to The Washington Post. Yanez is scheduled to appear in court on Friday and reportedly plans to turn himself in.