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Officer Yanez Found Not Guilty of Manslaughter

Valerie Castile
photo courtesy Minnesota News Network

St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) – After days of deliberations, a jury and Ramsey County this afternoon returned a not guilty verdict in the trial of a Twin Cities police officer charged with manslaughter for the shooting death of a black motorist last summer.

Saint Anthony Police Officer Yeronimo Yanez opened fire and fatally wounded 32-year-old Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights on July 8th, 2016. The gunfire erupted almost immediately after Castille informed the officer he was in possession of a gun and had a permit to carry it.

The jury was left to figure out if Officer Yanez was justified in using deadly force, or negligent in his response to Castille. During the trial, the prosecution called expert witnesses who testified the officer’s response was unreasonable and the fatal shooting was unjustified, while Officer Yanez told the jury he was “scared to death” and believed Castille was reaching for his gun.

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A video of the aftermath of the deadly shooting was “live streamed” on Facebook by Castile’s girlfriend, sparking large protests by the Black Lives Matter group and others in the Twin Cities and several other cities across the United States.

Following the reading of the verdict, Philando Castile’s mother and younger sister spoke to reporters. Valerie Castile contends Officer Yanez got away with murder and went on to say, “this city killed my son; I’m mad as hell right now.”

A short time later, the city of Saint Anthony issued a statement indicating that Yanez would not be allowed to return to his job as a police officer and that he would be offered a voluntary separation agreement.

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