On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was shot to death by a cop during a traffic stop – in front of his girlfriend and her daughter.
Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, live-streamed this video of the tragic incident to Facebook.
Warning: Graphic and disturbing footage
Reynolds reported that the police pulled them over for a broken tail light and callously shot 32-year old Castile to death after he told the officers that he had a firearm and a conceal-and-carry permit.
Her 4-year old daughter was reportedly sitting in the backseat when the officer fired at least four bullets into Castile’s arm and chest.
Today, it was announced that Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who killed Castile, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
From the Star Tribune:
St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez faces three criminal charges for the killing of Philando Castile, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced Wednesday.
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.
The charges came after a 19-week investigation, which included review of the dash cam footage and audio footage taken during the incident.
Yanez was aware that Castile was wearing his seatbelt, Choi said.
Choi said that after providing the officer with his insurance information, Castile calmly and in a non-threatening manner said, “Sir, I do have to tell you that I have a firearm on me.”
Choi’s description of what happened next is heartbreaking and downright horrifying:
Yanez replied OK, then placed his hand on his gun.
Yanez said “Don’t reach for (the gun).”
Castile responded, “I’m not pulling it out.”
Yanez screamed “Don’t pull it out,” then with his left hand reached inside the vehicle. Yanez withdrew his hand, then fired seven shots in rapid succession.
The final shot was fired at 9:06 p.m.
Castile’s final words, Choi said, were “I wasn’t reaching for it.”
“His dying words were in protest that he wasn’t reaching for his gun,” Choi said. “There simply was no objective threat posed to Officer Yanez.”
Yanez claimed he was “scared for his life”, but Choi said the officer’s actions did not meet the legal standard for justified use of deadly force: “it is not enough… to express subjective fear of death or great bodily harm.”
After a thorough review of the evidence, Choi chose to make the decision on charging himself, rather than turning the case over to a grand jury.
In Minnesota, second-degree manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter, carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, reports the Chicago Tribune.
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