Published: Tue, June 13, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Jury begins deliberating charges brought against officer who fatally shot Philando Castile

Jury begins deliberating charges brought against officer who fatally shot Philando Castile

Closing arguments are expected to begin Monday in the trial of St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez at the Ramsey County Courthouse in St. Paul.

Castile's July 2016 killing received worldwide attention when his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was in the vehicle with her 4-year-old daughter, live-streamed the immediate aftermath on Facebook. He had a permit to carry it.

Earlier Friday, Emanuel Kapelsohn, a police training and firearms expert called as a defense witness, testified he thought Yanez acted appropriately while thinking Castile was reaching for a gun.

Reynolds said that as Yanez continued to point his weapon into the vehicle after firing several shots, she feared for her safety and that of her 4-year-old daughter, who was also in the auto.

Now, a jury must decide whether Yanez should be convicted of three charges against him: one count of second-degree manslaughter for the death of Castile, and two counts of "intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety" for shooting into a vehicle with Reynolds and her daughter inside. I didn't want to shoot Mr. Castile.

Paulsen reminded the jury of the recorded statements on Monday, saying they should consider them accurate.

When prosecutors questioned him about the commands Yanez yelled at Castile, Kapelsohn said, "Officers are not ideal". Prosecution use-of-force expert Jeffrey Noble testified there was "absolutely no reason" to believe Castile was a threat.

After he shot Castile, Yanez is heard on the squad vehicle video telling a supervisor variously that he didn't know where Castile's gun was, then that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Yanez testified Friday that he meant that he didn't know where the gun was "up until I saw it in his right thigh area".

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Gray used his closing argument to tell the jury that Yanez had plenty of justification for shooting.

After he shot Castile, Yanez is heard on squad vehicle video telling a supervisor variously that he didn't know where Castile's gun was, then that he told Castile to get his hand off it.

He also contested the state's argument that Yanez should have told Castile that he resembled a robbery suspect from four days prior.

And he says Yanez saw a gun and feared for his life. He said Castile was high on marijuana and didn't follow Yanez's orders.

Yanez resorted to deadly force "before he was sure", Paulsen said.

Jeronimo Yanez, a 29-year-old Latino officer, is charged in the July 6 death of Philando Castile, who was black. It will return Tuesday morning to continue deliberating.

Last week, Reynolds explained her snap decision to record the traffic stop: "Because I know that the people are not protected against the police".

Conviction of the officer's manslaughter charge requires the jury to find Yanez guilty of "culpable negligence", which the judge described in jury instructions as gross negligence with an element of recklessness.

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