Minnesota authorities on Tuesday released dash cam video footage showing Officer Jeromino Yanez fatally shooting Philando Castile during what began as a routine traffic stop over a broken brake light in St. Anthony, a suburb of St. Paul.
The release of the video comes at a raw time for racial justice advocates. Four days ago, a jury acquitted Yanez of second-degree manslaughter in connection with the July 2016 shooting of the black Castile, the aftermath of which was live-streamed on Facebook by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was a passenger in the car.
The dash cam video from the encounter was introduced as evidence during Yanez’s trial; it shows him shooting Castile and offers a more complete picture of what happened. Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria worker, was driving with Reynolds and her daughter when he was pulled over by Yanez for having a broken brake light.
In the video, Yanez can be seen walking up to Castile’s vehicle and asking for identification. Castile appears to hand something to Yanez.
“Sir,” Castile tells Yanez in a calm voice, “I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me.”
“OK,” Yanez says as he reaches for his gun. “Don’t reach for it, then. Don’t pull it out.”
“I’m not gonna pull it out,” Castile says.
But Yanez reaches into the vehicle, then immediately shoots seven times. Reynolds screams, Yanez shouts “Don’t move,” and Castile wails.
Reynolds broadcast the aftermath on Facebook Live, and within three days her video had been viewed nearly five million times. Castile’s death, along with that of another black man in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, earlier that week, sparked nationwide protests over racial injustice and police brutality.
When determining Yanez’s fate, jurors were tasked with assessing the extent to which he justifiably feared for his life.
“Based on the release of the dash cam video today, it is clear that Officer Jeronimo Yanez was not in control, was nervous, and acted in a reckless manner,” said Larry R. Rogers Jr., an attorney representing Reynolds. “We are exploring our next steps in light of the compelling evidence of Officer Yanez’s wrongdoing that led to this tragedy.”