After close to 27 hours of deliberation, a jury on Friday acquitted St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez of all charges in the shooting death of Philando Castile. Yanez faced felony charges of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm in the fatal shooting of Castile during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016.
Yanez fired seven shots, striking Castile five times, with one bullet reportedly going through the driver’s seat into the backseat. The daughter of Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the backseat on the opposite side.
The moments after Castile was shot were streamed live on Facebook by Reynolds and shared on social media, setting off protests and unrest locally and across the nation.
Judge Glenda Hatchett, whose law firm is representing the Castile family on all civil matters, held a press conference outside of the courthouse to denounce the verdict. Philando’s mother, Valerie Castile, also addressed the media saying she’s disappointed in the the state of Minnesota and the way the justice system continues to fail Black people. Both praised Ramsey County Attorney John Choi for filing charges against Yanez — the first time an on-duty police officer was charged for a fatal shooting in the state of Minnesota.
(Below, see video of Judge Hatchett and Valerie Castile addressing the media)
Shortly after the verdict was announced, the City of St. Anthony released a statement saying that Yanez would no longer be employed as a police officer for the city:
“The City of St. Anthony has concluded that the public will be best served if Officer Yanez is no longer a police officer in our city. The city intends to offer Officer Yanez a voluntary separation agreement to help him transition to another career other than being a St. Anthony officer. The terms of this agreement will be negotiated in the near future, so details are not available at this time. In the meantime, Officer Yanez will not return to active duty.”
Throughout the deliberations, the Castile family has called for peace, requesting no protests or marches until the jury has reached a decision.
A rally organized by various community organizations is set for 7 pm today at the Minnesota State Capitol, and Ramsey County has listed various community conversations being held in St. Paul to offer support for the community.
Update: In St. Paul, thousands gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol for a rally and march. After the march, protesters shutdown Interstate 94 for roughly three hours. Eighteen arrests were eventually made by Minnesota State Patrol. See scenes from St. Paul below:
Look for full stories about the community reaction to the verdict by Ivan B. Phifer and Charles Hallman on the MSR.
Related story: Community reacts to not guilty verdict in Yanez trial