Minnesota Cop Who Fatally Shot Philando Castile Found Not Guilty
ST. PAUL, MN - JULY 07: A sign reading, 'Justice for Philando,' and police tape are draped over the entrance of the Governor's Mansion following the police shooting death of a black man on July 7, 2016 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Philando Castile was shot and killed last night, July 6, 2016, by a police officer in Falcon Heights, MN. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop in July of last year, was found not guilty of manslaughter and all other charges related to the case on Friday.
The trial, which lasted two weeks, culminated with the jury deliberating over five days, for more than 24 hours total.
"I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota," Philando Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, told reporters after the verdict was read, the Star-Tribune reports. "My son loved Minnesota. He had one tattoo on his body and it was of the Twin Cities. My son loved this city, and the city killed my son and the murderer gets away."
KARE 11, an NBC affiliate station, posted further comments on the verdict from Valerie Castile, who says police now have "free rein":
"I'm mad as hell right now, yes I am ..." Valerie Castile, mother of Philando, says. pic.twitter.com/iNdpob2kbJ— KARE 11 (@kare11) June 16, 2017
Diamond Reynolds, Castile's girlfriend, who livestreamed the shooting, issued the following statement, closing with "God help America":
Yanez's defense attorneys commented to KARE 11 on camera. "In my opinion, the case should have never been charged," said one:
Yanez defense attorneys: "The verdict was the correct verdict ... in my opinion, the case should have never been charged." pic.twitter.com/Tl9nUZSelP— KARE 11 (@kare11) June 16, 2017
Yanez himself left without taking questions, according to the Star-Tribune, but a reporter at KARE 11 reported that Yanez has been let go from his position in the St. Anthony police department:
Yanez, 29, was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of intentional discharge of a dangerous weapon in November. He fatally shot Castile, 32, in early July , during a traffic stop streamed on Facebook Live by Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds.
The shooting sparked protest in Minnesota (and nationwide, including in Chicago). It even sparked condemnation from Minnesota's governor, Mark Dayton, who said during one press conference: "Would this have happened if the driver were white, if the passengers were white? I don’t think it would have.”