Officer justified in firing at motorist

Jeronimo Yanez

He faces one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of risky discharge of a firearm for endangering the lives of Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter when he fired seven bullets into the vehicle.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile.

Squad auto video shows that Yanez said immediately after the shooting he did not know where the gun was, but also claimed that he told Castile to get his hand off of the weapon.

"I was scared to death". "I wanted to make sure if I died in front of my daughter that people would know the truth". My family popped into my head. "My wife. My baby girl". "I was concern about the child in the back", he said. "I had no other choice". Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the death of 32-year-old Philando Castile last July in a St. Paul suburb. "Those were not my intentions".

Prosecutors called Yanez's actions unreasonable.

Video from Yanez's squad auto dashboard camera showed that he approached the driver's window while Kauser went to the passenger side and told Castile of his defective taillight. He did not contact dispatch. Yanez said it was implied. Yanez had pulled the 32-year-old cafeteria worker over because of a faulty brake light, after following him for 2 miles before activating his lights and sirens in July 2016. Others were asked to weigh in on Yanez's decision not to radio his traffic stop into dispatch if he suspected an armed robber might be in the auto.

While holding a replica of Castile's 9mm handgun, Yanez told the jury he saw part of the gun's handle before opening fire.

The state maintains that Castile was trying to access his wallet to comply with Yanez's request to produce his driver's license when the officer recklessly shot him. Squad-car video recorded him telling a supervisor afterward that he didn't know where Castile's gun was, but also that he told Castile to take his hand off it. Yanez's partner testified that Yanez told him later he saw the gun.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension noted that one of the bullets fired into the auto hit the arm rest near where Reynolds was seated.

Prosecutor Rick Dusterhoft asked Yanez about a statement to investigators that he saw the barrel of the gun before he fired.

"It was a gun", Yanez said.




But after a brief recess, Leary sided with Yanez's attorneys and sustained their objections to the request. Yanez's attorneys say the St. Anthony police officer made a reasonable split-second decision in the presence of a gun and fearing for his life.

Erdman drove Yanez home in Erdman's personal vehicle the night of the shooting. The one who testified for the state said Yanez was negligent throughout the traffic stop. "Why did he have to reach for it?"

"I did not want to shoot Mr. Castile at all", Yanez said as he took off his glasses and wiped away tears with a tissue.

Defense attorneys then proceeded to play a squad cam video of Olson giving $40 to Reynolds after Reynolds told him that she and her daughter were hungry and did not have food.

Reynolds pulled out her cellphone and began live-streaming the shooting's aftermath on Facebook as Castile bled to death.

Earlier this week, Reynolds had testified that she did not receive any money from Olson.

"When Roseville police officers arrived you never warned them there was a gun did you?"

A former police officer in Mound and Golden Valley who also consults on use-of-force cases told the jury he reached the same conclusion about Yanez's conduct during testimony Thursday. Kapelsohn disagreed, saying the central question to him was whether Yanez "reasonably believed that Castile was pulling out a firearm". He is also certified in instructing police defense tactics, handgun retention and police use of force. He says he reviewed videos and police reports. He placed the same Diamondback gun in a holster inside the shorts.

Kapelsohn also testified that his tests found Castile could have drawn his gun in a fraction of a second. First responders called to the scene testified that the gun was in a pocket of Castile's shorts when paramedics removed him from his vehicle. He said Castile ignored his instructions not to reach for the gun. Castile started saying he wasn't reaching for it, but the officer interrupted and said, "Don't pull it out".

Testimony ended Friday; closing arguments are scheduled for Monday morning.

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