UPDATE: The City of St. Anthony, Minnesota released the following statement immediately after the not guilty verdict was returned by the jury.
“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.”
City officials said that plan to negotiate a voluntary severance package with Officer Yanez that will aid him in finding employment in another career not in the City of St. Anthony.
EARLIER-A jury has found St. Anthony Police officer Jeromino Yanez was reasonable in his decision to fatally shoot Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights last summer.
The jury reached its verdict of not guilty on the manslaughter charge as well as the two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm Friday afternoon after about 30 hours of deliberations that began Monday afternoon.
It was delivered in a Ramsey County District Court courtroom packed with family members and friends of both Yanez and Castile.
Jurors received the case Monday afternoon after attorneys for the prosecution and defense finished their closing arguments.
Yanez was the first police officer in modern Minnesota history to be charged in an on-duty shooting. Yanez fired seven bullets into Castile’s car shortly after the 32-year-old black man told him he was carrying a firearm. Yanez said Castile was reaching for the gun and didn’t listen to his instructions to stop.
Castile had a license to carry a gun, but he hadn’t told the officer that before the shooting took place.
Yanez, who is Latino, was also found not guilty of dangerous discharge of his weapon.
The officer pulled Castile over for a broken tail-light in Falcon Heights last July 6 after alerting his police partner in another squad car that Castile resembled one of the suspects in a recent armed robbery he responded to in the area due to his “wide-set nose.”
After approaching his window, Yanez asked Castile for his license and proof of insurance. After handing over his insurance card, Castile told him, “Sir, I do have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me.”
Yanez proceeded to tell him not to reach for it, to which Castile replied that he wasn’t. Differing interpretations on the intentions of Castile’s next movements defined both the state and defense’s case.
The state argued during the roughly week-long trial that Castile was trying to access the driver’s license Yanez had seconds before asked him to produce when the officer “jumped to conclusions” and needlessly shot him.
Yanez testified that he acted out of self-defense when he saw Castile go for his pistol despite the officer’s for him not to reach for it. With Castile’s hand on his gun, Yanez said he had to act. He cried from the witness stand as he recounted his decision to shoot, telling jurors “I thought I was going to die.”
Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter, were also in the car at the time of the shooting. Prosecutors maintained that Yanez put their lives in danger when he opened-fire into the car.
One bullet hit the armrest between Reynolds and Castile. Another pierced the back seat, about 16 inches from the child’s car-seat.
The defense said Yanez strategically aimed his weapon down and to the left to protect the passengers from harm.
Reynolds pulled out her cellphone and began live-streaming the shooting’s aftermath on Facebook as Castile bled to death.
Her video went viral, sparking protests both locally and nationally about police use of force, particularly against black men.
There was also video of the shooting captured from a camera mounted on the dashboard in Yanez’s squad car. It was played repeatedly throughout the trial.
Castile’s mother and other friends and family were fixtures in the courtroom throughout the proceedings, as was Yanez’s family.
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