St. Anthony (MN) police officer Jeronimo Yanez will face the change of manslaughter for the death of Philando Castile.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced during a Wednesday morning press conference that officer Jeronimo Yanez will face three charges for shooting and killing Philando Castile on July 6.
Choi said it was his conclusion that “use of deadly force by Officer Yanez was not justified.” Yanez was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
Castile, 32, was fatally shot July 6 by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. A video recorded by his girlfriend, showing him bleeding in the car while the officer stood nearby, touched off widespread outrage and protests.
Choi’s office has been reviewing evidence in the shooting since Sept. 28, when the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension handed him its findings. Choi said Wednesday he chose to make the decision on charging himself, rather than turning the case over to a grand jury.
In explaining how Yanez’s actions did not meet the legal standard for justified use of deadly force, Choi said “it is not enough… to express subjective fear of death or great bodily harm.”
The events surrounding Castile’s death have been troubling from the outset, with the aftermath of the shooting streamed live from inside the car by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds.
As the video starts just moments after the shooting, Reynolds’ first words are commanding Castile to, “Stay with me!”
Reynolds remained calm and continued to comply with the officer’s orders, referring to him as ‘sir’ and describing the events that had just transpired.
“Ma’am, keep your hands where they are,” he shouted at Reynolds. “I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hands up.”
“You told him to get his ID, sir, his driver’s license,” Reynolds responded. “Oh my God. Please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.”
The video shows Castile slumped over in the driver’s seat (the video is flipped horizontally when posted on social media) as Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter remained in the vehicle until complying with backup officer’s commands to come out with her hands up.
St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez faces a charge of manslaughter for shooting Castile for no good reason at all, and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm for putting the lives of Reynolds and her four-year-old daughter at risk by firing seven shots into the vehicle.
Yanez’s partner and long time friend, officer Joseph Kauser, never saw a threat and never drew his weapon. His testimony, delivered in the interested of justice and in spite of claims of a “blue wall of silence” surrounding officer-involved shootings, was critical in the decision to prosecute Yanez.
Castile’s death was so troubling that it marked what appears to be the first time the National Rifle Association ever publicly commented on an on-going investigation.