Remember the cop-related shooting death of a 32-year-old black man named Philando Castile back on July 6th? Well now, the Minnesota police officer who shot Castile is being charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez of the St. Anthony Police Department was placed under arrest on Wednesday for the second-degree manslaughter charge as well as two felony charges of dangerous discharge of a firearm. On Friday, he will have his first court appearance. John Choi, who is the Ramsey County Attorney, made the decision to file charges after reviewing the facts of the case extensively and concluding that the shooting was unjustified.
When Castile was first killed back in July, news about his death spread quickly on social media. What really helped it get attention was the video of the shooting aftermath that was recorded by Diamond Reynolds, who was Castile’s fiancée. In fact, she live-streamed the video on Facebook as the aftermath was happening in real time. The 4-year-old daughter of Reynolds was in the backseat the whole time too.
To make matters worse, this incident happened one day after another police shooting of an unarmed black man occurred in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 5th. That incident caused nationwide protests to breakout which only got accelerated further after Castile was killed by a police officer on the next day.
One big difference between the two cases was that Castile had a firearm in his car when he was pulled over, but he had a license for the gun so he was legally allowed to have it. Plus, just having a firearm does not mean that an officer can use deadly force. According to Officer Yanez, Castile was reaching down toward some kind of “C-shaped” object. Yanez claimed he couldn’t tell what it was, but he thought that it could be a gun and that his life was in danger.
Unfortunately for him, the Ramsey County Attorney didn’t think his reaction was justified.