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.
The first man killed by Billings, Montana police officer Grant Morrison was armed with a BB gun. That was on February 11, 2013. Morrison was cleared of wrongdoing.
On April 14, 2014, Morrison killed again, and no weapon was found on 38-year old Richard Ramirez.
The following is dash cam video of an officer arriving on a scene. When he arrived, 38-year old Richard Ramirez had already been shot dead by police officer Grant Morrison. Morrison fired three shots. It was alleged that suspect Richard Ramirez was high on meth and ignored Morrison’s commands to raise his hands.
A coroner’s inquest jury decided that Morrison was justified in shooting and killing unarmed Ramirez. Morrison is back on duty. He has been assigned to a task force investigating prescription drug crimes.
At the inquest, the five-year police veteran said he became convinced that Ramirez had a gun after he reached for his waistband during their 30-second encounter. Morrison testified:
“I knew in that moment, which later was determined to be untrue, but I knew in that moment that he was reaching for a gun,” Morrison said. “I couldn’t take that risk. … I wanted to see my son grow up.”