Published: Wed, June 14, 2017
U.S. | By Vera Richards

Jury in Yanez Trial Asked to Determine Culpable Negligence

Jury in Yanez Trial Asked to Determine Culpable Negligence

Closing arguments are set to begin on Monday in the trial of a Minnesota police officer charged with fatally shooting a black motorist during a traffic stop past year, the aftermath of which was streamed on social media by the driver's girlfriend.

Yanez shot Castile five times last July during a traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb, just seconds after Castile informed him he was carrying a gun.

After Yanez approached the auto, Castile informed him that he was carrying a gun.

A Facebook live video captured the moment Yanez pointed his gun through the window of Castile's Oldsmobile. The jury was expected to begin considering the case later Monday after just five days of testimony, evidence and arguments.

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. After Yanez activated his flashing lights, Castile stopped near a squat apartment building and row of trees.

Leary refused a jury request to view a post-shooting video interview with Yanez by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, excerpts of which were read in court. None is Latino. It's not clear which three members are the alternates, who will be dismissed after closing arguments. Before Castile finishes that sentence, Yanez has his hand on his own gun and is pulling it out of the holster.

The jury deliberating the fate of a Minnesota police officer charged in the fatal shooting of a black motorist has watched replays of two key videos in the case. She has declined to comment previously, but she said, "We need to stand in solidarity to let them know that this is not about ourselves".

"He gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look", Yanez said.

After Castile disclosed that he had a firearm, Yanez can be heard saying, "OK don't reach for it then".

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As for the recording in which he said he didn't know where the gun was, he explained, "What I meant by that was I didn't know where the gun was up until I saw it in his right thigh area".

The footage, which has been viewed millions of times, shows the Latino officer shouting expletives while pointing his gun through the vehicle window at Castile's bloodied body.

"He got nervous and he put his safety above the safety of everyone else", Paulsen said of the seven rounds Yanez fired at Castile.

Prosecutors countered that Yanez never saw the gun and had plenty of options short of shooting the 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, who they say was never a threat and had a gun permit.

The defense attorney also refuted the inconsistencies in Yanez's statements using the word "it" instead of "gun". He said Castile disregarded the officer's orders and reached for his gun because he was stoned on marijuana. But a prosecution expert testified there's no way to tell when Castile last smoked marijuana or whether he was high.

And he says Yanez saw a gun and feared for his life.

Yanez resorted to deadly force "before he was sure", Paulsen said. Jurors will return Tuesday morning.

The mother of a black man fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer last July says her son shouldn't have died the way he did.

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