Update: Philando Castile’s Mom Reaches Settlement Close to $3 Million

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. Philando was 32-years old.

Yanez was charged and went to trial.  He testified in court that he believed Philando matched the physical description of a robbery suspect, and that Philando was disobeying his commands and reaching for a gun.  We followed the trial here and here.

Philando, who was licensed to carry a gun, had advised Officer Yanez that he had a firearm in the car. Prosecutors said he had done so to put the officer at ease, not to cause alarm.

The jury was deadlocked for almost a week, but ended up acquitting Yanzez. A juror gave an interview to MPR News on the condition of remaining anonymous.

“Jurors were quick to decide Yanez’s acquittal on felony weapons charges. The juror said photos of Castile’s body showed that Yanez was aiming away from the two passengers, Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter.”

“What we were looking at was some pretty obscure things to a lot of people, like culpable negligence. You think you might know what it means: It’s negligent, but maybe pretty bad negligence. Well, it’s gross negligence with an element of recklessness … We had the law in front of us so we could break it down.”

“It just came down to us not being able to see what was going on in the car. Some of us were saying that there was some recklessness there, but that didn’t stick because we didn’t know what escalated the situation: was he really seeing a gun? We felt [Yanez] was an honest guy … and in the end, we had to go on his word, and that’s what it came down to.”

Ten days after Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of second-degree murder for the killing of Philando Castile, the insurance company for the City of St. Anthony, Minnesota offered Philando’s family $2.995 million to avoid a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Robert Bennett, a lawyer for the Castile family, said that “no amount of money can ever replace Philando,” but that the settlement should provide some measure of comfort to those angered by his death.

“I think this is a way of stopping what could be several years of litigation traveling through the courts and exacerbating the suffering of the family and the community,” Mr. Bennett said. “And perhaps both can do now the important business of trying to heal.”

Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile (photo via eurweb.com)

The settlement, less attorney fees of $995,000, leaves $2 million for distribution to Valerie Castile, Philando’s mother.  She plans to use some of the funds to support the Philando Castile Relief Foundation, which was established to help other victims of gun violence. She is currently waiting recognition by the IRS as an official nonprofit.

Valerie has helped the family of Justine Damon, and unarmed woman who was killed by Minneapolis police in July.  The attorney for Philando’s family, Robert Bennett, also represents Damond’s family.

When reaching the settlement, Bennett contacted family members to find out if they were seeking a portion of the money.  Phelix H. Frazier, Sr., Philando Castile’s father, wanted $500,000.  Frazier is serving a life term in federal prison for a heroin trafficking ring described by the court as “an organized and complex enterprise.”

Hennepin County District Judge Susan Robiner rejected Frazier’s bid.

Colleagues and parents remember Philando Castile as an ambitious man who served as a role model for hundreds of children before he was killed by Yanez.   Philando was a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in Saint Paul, Minn..  He knew the names of the 500 children he served every day, and according to a coworker, also knew their food allergies.  St. Paul School District officials said Philando often paid for children’s lunches out of his own pocket if they couldn’t afford it.

This month, a fundraising campaign to honor Philando’s memory raised enough money to help pay off every St. Paul Public Schools students’ lunch debt for at least a year.  Philando’s mother Valerie presented a $10,000 check to the school.  An online fundraiser called “Philando Feeds the Children” raised more than $70,000 in Philando’s honor.

About 3 weeks after his acquittal, Jeronimo Yanez signed a separation agreement that terminated his employment with the City of St. Anthony.  According to the Star Tribune, Yanez was making $72,612.80 a year.  The separation agreement gave him $48,500.

Posted on 10/20/2017, in Cases, Philando Castile and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. yahtzeebutterfly

    Philando should be alive today.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, Yahtzee, Philando should be alive. His death was not in vain. His blood was like good seed planted, resulting in hungry children eating at school, and other families receiving support through his mom. His legacy lives on.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Just heartbreaking that the jury could see the truth if what happened. He did nothing wrong and is now dead because of some trigger happy cop. Rest easy 😭😭

    Liked by 3 people

    • Typo couldn’t see the truth!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Ladylove,
      Isn’t that strange seeing that dash and/or body cam is pretty recent? So, the jury goes by what Yanez testified, and not what Diamond testified? Diamond was in the car. She told them what happened before Yanez fired his gun. Why is it that her testimony was not good enough without video, but Yanez’s testimony was believed without video? That’s the type of double-standard that indicates partiality.

      I agree with the common sense of the prosecutors; Philando would not have told Yanez that he was legally carrying a gun if he planned on using it to shoot Yanez.

      Liked by 5 people

  3. You’re absolutely right,what made his testimony so believable? I mean the EMT even said the gun was way down in Philando’s pocket.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ladylove,
      That is what is meant by partiality. Another word is prejudice. Jurors are suppose to weigh the credibility of testimony but in this case, it appears that they disregarded all other testimony rather than weighing it or comparing it to Yanez’s testimony.

      During jury selection, there was one Black man and one Black woman selected, but sources did not say whether or not they were alternatives or actually went into deliberations. The case could have been decided by a jury that believes by default, that officers do not misrepresent the facts.

      Liked by 4 people

      • “It just came down to us not being able to see what was going on in the car. Some of us were saying that there was some recklessness there, but that didn’t stick because we didn’t know what escalated the situation: was he really seeing a gun? We felt [Yanez] was an honest guy … and in the end, we had to go on his word, and that’s what it came down to.”

        But not his girlfriend? They couldn’t go on her word… Whatever.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Mindyme,
          Exactly! They also disregarded Yanez’s training in how to handle a person who is legally carrying by asking where the gun is. Procedure required Yanez to ask Philando to step out of the car with his hands where he could see them, and then search and take the gun until completing the reason for the stop. But, Yanez already assumed that Philando met the description of an armed robber and on that basis, he took an innocent man’s life.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. Reblogged this on SUPABUTTERFLY and commented:
    Good For her!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. No amount of money can ever replace a life. Nothing goes in the mind of a woman more than the thought of mourning her child.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. People left behind get the money and fade from view. This foundation, that endowment. Whatever.

    Peace and love all around. What I would give a kidney, a liver!, to see is someone spending the money to sue the HELL out of the NEXT city that allowed such unfit specimens to wear the badge and swagger around with the GUN they love so, and do the damage that they do.

    Then take THAT settlement and sue the hell out of the next TWO cities, and keep it going and keep it GROWING!

    Now THAT might SOMEDAY make a difference.

    Liked by 4 people

    • That is a good idea. However, our judicial system prevents that type of suing by requiring a thing called “standing”. It takes an injured party, or their estate, to sue in such circumstances.

      There is still hope is that those attorneys who represent the families on contingency, can represent other injured families without worry about how they are going to pay their bills while waiting for the next case to settle or be litigated. That is why in some cases, we see the same attorneys representing the next injured family, and another, and another. It’s not looking for fame but paying it forward.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Maybe if and when the police dept. gets tired of paying out all that money they’ll do something about their officers. Wishful thinking.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Shyloh,
      Wishing thinking is right.

      You see, here, the city made sure it said that the insurance company paid the settlement and not “tax payers”. How does the city pay the insurance company? With money from tax payers. So, if insurance premiums increase because of this and/or other settlements, who is paying for the increase? Tax payers.

      They hope that citizens are not listening with discerning ears.


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