Ramsey County District Attorney announced that St. Anthony Police Office Yañez was not justified in killing 32-year-old victim during a traffic stop.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
November 16, 2016
St. Paul, Minnesota – On Wednesday, the Ramsey County District Attorney John J. Choi announced that St. Anthony Police Officer Jerónimo Yañez was not justified in fatally shooting Philando Castile, 32, in July 6 in Falcon Heights. Officer Yañez was charged with one felony count for 2nd-degree manslaughter and two felony counts for dangerous discharge of a weapon. If convicted, Yañez is facing up to 10 years in prison and $20K in fines for 2nd-degree manslaughter and 5 years in prison and up to $10K in fines for each count for discharging a weapon. Yañez first court appearance will be on November 18.
D.A. Choi released the following statement during a press conference, “Based upon our thorough and exhaustive review of the facts of this case, it is my conclusion that the use of deadly force by Officer Yanez was not justified and that sufficient facts exist to prove this to be true.
“Accordingly, we filed a criminal complaint this morning in Ramsey County District Court charging Officer Yanez with Second Degree Manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile and two felony counts of Dangerous Discharge of a Firearm that endangered the safety of Diamond Reynolds and her four-year-old daughter, the two passengers in the car.”Castile, an Afro-American male was shot multiple times by St. Anthony Police Officer Yañez, according to Lavish Reynolds who recorded the aftermath scene live on her Facebook account. Reynolds says, her boyfriend had told the officer that he was a carry concealed license holder and he was reaching for his identification when he was shot multiple times. Officer Yañez had asked for a license and registration from Castile who was driving.
Reynolds continued to record when other officers arrived to the scene. Her 4-year-old daughter witness the shooting.
Castile later died at the Hennepin County Medical Center. He worked as a supervisor at J.J. Montessori school in St. Paul, according to relatives.
Castile’s death was ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Both Castile and Reynolds were pulled over for a broken taillight by several St. Anthony police officers.
According to D.A. Choi, Officer Yanez’s squad car video captured the entire incident, with audio, and subsequent conversations between Officer Yanez and other officers immediately after the shooting. The dashcam video reveals the sequence of events that transpired during this critical minute:
• Officer Yanez approached Castile’s vehicle on the driver’s side. Yanez later stated he was aware that Castile was buckled in his seatbelt and saw there was a young child in the back seat and a female passenger in the front seat.
• Officer Yanez described Castile as initially having “his left arm over the steering wheel” with “both hands in view.”
• Officer Yanez positioned himself facing the driver’s side window, leaned his head forward, exchanged greetings with Castile and informed him of his brake light problem.
• Officer Yanez also smelled burnt marijuana but said he did not mention anything to Castile so as not to “scare Castile or have him react in a defensive manner.”
• As this occurred, Officer Kauser walked toward the vehicle and positioned himself on the sidewalk on the passenger’s side of Castile’s car.
• Officer Yanez asked Castile to produce his driver’s license and proof of insurance. Castile first provided him with his insurance card.
Castile then, calmly, and in a non-threatening manner, informed Officer Yanez, “sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me.”
• Before Castile completed the sentence, Officer Yanez interrupted and calmly replied, “okay” and placed his right hand on the holster of his own, holstered, gun.
• Officer Yanez then said, “okay, don’t reach for it, then.”
• Castile tried to respond but was interrupted by Officer Yanez, who said, “don’t pull it out.”
• Castile responded, “I’m not pulling it out,” and Reynolds also responded by saying, “he’s not pulling it out.”
• Then Officer Yanez screamed, “don’t pull it out!,” and quickly pulled his own gun with
his right hand while he reached inside the driver’s side window with his left hand.
• Officer Yanez pulled his left arm out of the car, then fired seven shots in rapid succession into the vehicle.
• The seventh and final shot was fired at 9:06:02 pm
• After the final shot, Reynolds frantically yelled, “you just killed my boyfriend!”
• Philando Castile moaned and uttered his final words: “I wasn’t reaching for it.”
•To which Reynolds loudly said, “he wasn’t reaching for it.”
• Before Reynolds completed her sentence, Officer Yanez again screamed, “don’t pull it
• Reynolds responded by saying, “he wasn’t.”
• During this entire incident, Officer Kauser did not touch or remove his gun from its holster. By his actions and his own words, Officer Kauser did not see Castile make any sudden movements and he was surprised by the gunshots. In addition, Officer Yanez never informed Officer Kauser about the presence of a gun.
D.A. Choi confirmed that Castile was cooperative with the officer’s command and did not exhibit a threat to Yañez and his patrol partner, Officer Joseph Kauser testified that he didn’t see Castile as a threat either.
Criminal complaint filed against Jerónimo Yañez (PDF) http://goo.gl/ZD3PcR