Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Jury finds officer who shot Philando Castile not guilty

Jury finds officer who shot Philando Castile not guilty

After peaceful protests erupted in St. Paul in response to officer Jeronimo Yanez' acquittal for shooting and killing Philando Castile, 18 people were arrested.

Yanez faced manslaughter charges over the July 2016 deadly shooting of Castile, who was black, at a traffic stop in suburban Falcon Heights. At least 2,000 people filled the steps leading to the State Capitol in St. Paul to listen to activists and friends of Castile express their anger at the verdict.

Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, was driving with his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter when they were pulled over by St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez.

Yanez, who is Latino, was charged with second-degree manslaughter.

Within hours of the verdict, thousands of protestors came together at the state Capitol, starting a march toward St. Paul Cathedral.

The City of St. Anthony has concluded that the public will be best served if Officer Yanez is no longer a police officer in our city.

Large protest demonstrations began around 7 p.m. Friday.

The footage sparked protests across the United States and further exposed tensions between USA police and African Americans.

Police ordered the protesters to disperse and the crowd eventually moved off I-94 mainlines and onto an entrance ramp.

Smaller groups returned to the State Capitol early Saturday morning. The offenders have already been booked at Ramsey County jail.

Thousands of angry, woke and fired-up Minnesotans took to the streets on Friday, hours after ex-police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of all charges in the shooting death of 32-year-old motorist Philando Castile almost one year ago. Despite the existence of video taken by Castile's girlfriend, who sat next to him in the vehicle when he was killed, the justice system has again failed to hold the person who pulled the trigger accountable.

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.

The state argued during the roughly weeklong trial that Castile was trying to get to the driver's license Yanez had seconds before asked him to produce when the officer "jumped to conclusions" and needlessly shot him. That included several recent cases that ended in mistrials or acquittals when officers testified they feared for their lives, Stinson said. He says the jury sympathizes with Castile's family.

Allysza Castile, Philando's 24-year-old sister, said after the verdict was announced that she hadn't spoken much in the last year because she gets emotional concerning her brother's death.

"I'm never happy when people are on the freeway, but the fact of the matter is no one was injured", Coleman said.

Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds broadcast the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

Once they find out that a black American has a gun permit, "they are not necessarily going to relax, but they now have an idea about your character", Ector said. Quick with a high-five for students and always eager to sneak kids extra graham crackers and other treats, Castile was known simply as "Mr. Phil".

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