News and Commentary

Officer Charged In Philando Castile Shooting

St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the killing of 32-year-old Philando Castile, who was shot and killed during a July 6 traffic stop in Falcon Heights.

Police authorities said Yanez had fatally shot Castile by reacting to a gun; Yanez’s attorney argued that Mr. Castile had not followed the officer’s commands.

Ramsey County attorney, John J. Choi asserted, “No reasonable officer — knowing, seeing and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time — would have used deadly force under these circumstances.”

Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who streamed what ensued after the shooting on Facebook Live, said they were stopped for a broken taillight. She claimed that Castile had a license to carry a weapon and that he had attempted to inform Yanez that he had a gun.

Yanez apparently believed Castile resembled the description of a robbery suspect.

By the time he was 30, Castile had been pulled over 44 times. He paid over $7,000 in misdemeanor tickets; his license had been revoked and reinstated repeatedly because he sometimes did not pay the fines. Of the 82 non-parking citations he was given over the years, 47 were dismissed.

In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that officers can stop a vehicle if they believe a traffic violation occurred.

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