Minnesota Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez has been charged with second degree manslaughter for the shooting of Philando Castile in July of this year. The shooting received a large amount of public attention because Castile’s girlfriend, Lavish “Diamond” Reynolds, posted video using Facebook Live (see below) of the immediate aftermath. Also, Castile’s clean record and the lack of any actions by him to in any rational way justify his shooting created a large public outcry towards police.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced that charge, along with two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm, today. In doing so, he stated, “No reasonable officer would have used deadly force under these circumstances.” Choi also stated, “it is not enough … to express subjective fear of death or great bodily harm.” That’s somewhat of a (welcome) departure from the typical acceptance of a police officer simply proclaiming that they “feared for my life” as a blanket justification for their murders.
Via the Star Tribune:
Choi said he concluded “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.
Yanez fatally shot Castile, 32, July 6 during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights in which Castile informed the officer the he had a gun in his possession. A video recorded by Castile’s girlfriend, showing him bleeding in the car while the officer held them at gunpoint, has been viewed millions of times around the world, and touched off widespread outrage and protests over several years of police killings of black men.
“To those of you may say this incident was Philando Castile’s fault, I would submit that no reasonable officer — knowing, seeing and hearing what officer Yanez did at the time — would have used deadly force under these circumstances,” Choi said. “I have given officer Yanez every benefit of the doubt on his use of deadly force, but I cannot allow the death of a motorist who was lawfully carrying a firearm under these facts and circumstances to go unaccounted for.
In an interview with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) the day after the shooting, Yanez provided information that was “inconsistent” with statements immediately following the incident, Choi said.