The Minnesota police officer who shot to dead Philando Castile was finally charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Ramsey County Attorney, John Choi, presented this Wednesday in court the charges of second-degree murder and multiple counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
“I have given officer Yanez every benefit of the doubt on his use of deadly force, but I cannot allow the death of a motorist who was lawfully carrying a firearm under these facts and circumstances to go unaccounted for,” Choi said.
The event happened on July 6. After Castile and Officer Jeronimo Yanez had encountered in a traffic stop in St. Anthony, Minnesota, Castile told the police officer that he was carrying a fire gun in his shorts. Then, the officer shot a total of seven times at Castile’s body, who was accompanied by his fiancée Diamond Reynolds and their four-year-old daughter. Reynolds recorded the incident on her cellphone while live-streaming everything on Facebook. The video begins 40 seconds after the last shot.
According to Choi’s declarations, no reasonable police officer would have reacted that way if a citizen was carrying a fire gun. The use of deadly force is inadmissible in that scenario, he declared.
However, Yanez establishes that Castile was looking for something unknown in his shorts and immediately started shooting. He said that he feared for his life and reacted for his defense. The paramedics did found a p40-caliber pistol in Castile’s shorts, but his fiancée assures that he was looking for his driver’s license.
The victim’s last words were “I wasn’t reaching for it,” concerning the possible grabbing of the gun, as it can be seen on the video.
The Police Officer and Castile knew each other
Apparently, July 6 was not the only time when this two persons crossed paths. Recently released documents prove that Yanez encountered his future victim five years ago.
Philando Castile was pulled over by a police officer on November 23, 2011, because of a broken brake light. He was taken to the police station where Yanez himself proceed to make the booking. There is no way of knowing both of them recognized each on the tragic day, but this report confirms the numerous encounters that Castile had with the police through the years.
A total of 52 times he was pulled over since 2002. Protesters of the incident have said that this record exists because of the race of the subject. However, Yanez`s attorney has established that the race of the victim is completely irrelevant, and the primary consideration to think about has to be the existence of a weapon in the scene.
The case has brought a lot of attention and has produced manifestations in several locations of the US. This is the first time that a law enforcement officer of Minnesota is charged in relation with the manslaughter of a citizen, according to lawyer Glenda Hatchett, which makes this event a historic one for this State.