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The Cop Who Killed Philando Castile Has Been Charged with Manslaughter

Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot the 32-year-old black cafeteria worker in July before Castile's then girlfriend streamed the graphic aftermath on Facebook.

by Lauren Messman
Nov 16 2016, 6:20pm

A couple hold a sign protesting the killing of Philando Castile outside the Governor's Mansion in St. Paul, Minnesota. Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The Minnesota cop who fatally shot Philando Castile after pulling him over this summer will be charged with second-degree manslaughter, the New York Timesreports.

Ramsey County District Attorney John J. Choi made the announcement Wednesday morning, and said the officer, Jeronimo Yanez, will also be charged with two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a weapon. Castile's then girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her child were in the car during the July shooting in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

"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," Choi said.

Castile's death was one of the most resonant of America's many officer-involved shootings this past year, in no small part because Reynolds filmed the aftermath from inside the car and livestreamed it on Facebook. In the graphic video, Reynolds calmly explains the situation as Castile lies next to her, bleeding.

"[Castile] told him that [his ID] was in his wallet, but he had a pistol on him because he's licensed to carry," she tells the camera. "The officer said, 'Don't move.' As he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm four or five times."

According to Yanez's attorney, Thomas Kelly, the officer fired his weapon because Castile was not being compliant and had a gun in his vehicle.

"The shooting had nothing to do with race and everything to do with the presence of that gun," Kelly told the Times in July.

But Choi, the prosector, pointed out Wednesday that there was no bullet in the chamber of Castile's gun, and said the victim disclosed the fact that he was armed "calmly and in a nonthreatening manner."

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