The defense attorneys for a Minnesota police officer who shot and killed a motorist in an event that was streamed live on Facebook by the victim’s girlfriend are asking for a change in venue for the trial, claiming that he cannot get a fair trial.
Attorneys for a police officer facing manslaughter charges in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile don’t think the defendant can get a fair trial in Ramsey County, so they’ve filed a motion for a change of venue.
St. Anthony Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Castile seven times during a July traffic stop in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights. Castile’s girlfriend streamed the aftermath live on Facebook in a video that’s been widely seen online. Castile told Yanez he was armed. He had a permit to carry a gun.
Yanez’s attorneys say he had no choice but to shoot Castile after he saw the gun and believed his life was in danger. The officer has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and other charges. His trial is scheduled to begin May 30.
Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds streamed the graphic aftermath of the shooting with stunned detachment as Castile died. She has since been arrested for a violent crime of her own, beating a woman in the head with a hammer. It is not yet known if her criminal case will harm her credibility as a witness.
It may not matter.
Besides forensics, the most damning evidence against Yanez may come from his partner and long-time friend, fellow St. Anothy Police Department officer Joseph Kauser. Kauser reportedly saw no threat from Castile during the incident, and did not draw his own weapon.