Police officer who shot Philando Castile charged with manslaughter

November 16, 2016, 12:19pm

It was a case that gripped the nation. A police officer in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota pulled over Philando Castile on July 6 and fired seven shots after the 32-year-old black man reached for his waistband. Then, the world watched him bleed on Facebook Live.

Castile later died at a hospital.

The St. Anthony police officer responsible, Jeronimo Yanez, was charged with second-degree manslaughter on Wednesday. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.


“It is my conclusion that the use of deadly force by Officer Yanez was not justified and that sufficient facts exist to prove this to be true,” said Ramsey County attorney John J. Choi.

Castile was driving with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds; her 4-year-old daughter was in the back seat. After Yanez and another officer pulled over Castile, a cafeteria supervisor at a school in St. Paul, Yanez asked for his license and registration. Initial reports suggested Castile was pulled over for a broken tail light. Yanez later testified, however, that Castile resembled a man wanted in an armed robbery, although a criminal complaint says an investigation eliminated Castile as a suspect.

Reynolds didn’t capture the shooting on video, but she began live streaming in the aftermath, providing viewers with her version of what occurred. She alleged that when Castile reached for his ID in his waistband, Yanez said, “Don’t move.” As Castile put his hands up, Yanez shot him in the arm “four or five times,” according to Reynolds. She stressed that Castile told the officer he was carrying a licensed firearm; the officer can be heard on the video yelling, “I told him not to reach for it.”

Within three days, the video had been viewed nearly five million times. Castile’s death — along with the death of another black man, 37-year-old Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana just days before — sparked nationwide protests over police brutality.

Yanez is due to appear in court on Friday. In addition to manslaughter, he also faces two felony counts of recklessly firing a weapon.

He is the first police officer to be charged out of more than 150 police-involved deaths in Minnesota since 2000, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Thomas Kelly, a lawyer for Yanez, did not immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment.