Trial Begins For Officer Jeronimo Yanez In The Shooting Death of Philando Castile
On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, when he was fatally shot by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer. Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter were passengers. Diamond live-streamed Philando’s dying moments and the aftermath on Facebook. The officer shot 7 times, hitting Philando Castile 5 times, twice in the heart.
Yanez’s attorney, Thomas Kelly, said Yanez stopped Castile because he matched the description of a suspect in a robbery a few days earlier. (Castile was found to not be connected to the robbery.)
Today, prosecutor Dusterhoft told the jury;
“What he could see were dreadlocks, eyeglasses and the fact that Mr. Castile was a black man,” Dusterhoft said. “Based on that glimpse” he stopped the car in Falcon Heights.”
Jeronimo Yanez has been charged with three felony counts; second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
On June 5, 2017, a jury was seated and opening statements were made. The jury consists of 9 men and 6 women which includes 3 alternates. There is one Black man and one Black woman on the jury.
Dashcam footage from officer Jeronimo Yanez’s encounter with Philando Castile was played publicly for the first time during the prosecution’s opening statements. It shows that Yanzez fired 7 shoots about a minute into the traffic stop.. Officer Joseph Kauser, Yanez’s backup, was so startled by the shots he leapt backward.
Kare11 describes the video to show;
In it, Yanez walked up to the vehicle and told Castile he has a brake light that’s out before asking for his license and insurance. Castile hands over his insurance card and tells Yanez, “Sir, I do have to tell you I have a firearm,” to which Yanez replies, “OK, don’t reach for it then.”
According to KARE 11 reporter Lou Raguse, the next few moments happen very quickly.
“Castile attempts to tell the officer he’s not reaching for it then Yanez says, “Don’t pull it out,” and a second later, shots are fired.
A total of seven shots are fired as Yanez stands next to the vehicle, gun pointed into the window and repeats, “don’t move” several times.
Within a few seconds, Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, begins her Facebook Live video.
In his opening statements, the prosecutor said Castile took two shots to the heart. He then emphasized Castile’s final words, “I wasn’t reaching for it.”
Diamond Reynolds took the witness stand on Monday. She described how Castile would get her daughter ready in the morning, and how he took care of them both.
She was just beginning to describe the events of July 6 when court recessed for the day. She will take the stand again on Tuesday.
Trial is expected to take a couple of weeks. Updates will be made in the comment section.