150 gather at Minnesota park for Castile rally

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 18, 2017

But according to one of the jurors who found Yanez not guilty on Friday, even the jury's black members said Yanez was legally justified in his decision to use lethal force against Castile.

Police arrested 18 protesters early Saturday as thousands gathered in St. Paul, Minn., after a jury acquitted a police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile.

Despite the acquittal, the city of St. Anthony announced that Yanez would be dismissed.

The defense argued Castile, who had traces of marijuana in his system, was stoned and it affected his responses to Yanez's commands.

Castile had a permit for the weapon, and prosecutors questioned whether Yanez ever saw it.

The state argued during the roughly weeklong trial that Castile was trying to get to the driver's license Yanez had seconds before asked him to produce when the officer "jumped to conclusions" and needlessly shot him. Although, Castile had already told the officer he had a hide carry permit for a firearm before reaching for his wallet, he was still shot seven times in front of his fiancée and her four-year-old daughter, who were in the vehicle with him. The public outcry included protests in Minnesota that shut down highways and surrounded the governor's mansion.

The incident, one of several deaths of black men and boys shot by USA police, sparked outrage and protests in St Paul. Dayton drew criticism in the days after the shooting for suggesting that Castile might not have been shot if he was white. "My son loved this city and this city killed my son".

"As people across our city, state and country react to the jury's verdict, I urge each of us to move forward in a way that is peaceful and respectful of everyone - residents, demonstrators and police officers alike". He also faces two lesser counts of endangering Reynolds and her daughter for firing his gun into the auto near them.

A jury acquitted Yanez Friday, clearing him of a manslaughter charge as well as two lesser charges. The rest of the jurors were white.

Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty of fatally shooting Castile during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016. What should have been a routine traffic stop quickly escalated into something far worse because, as Yanez claimed after the stop, he believed that Castile matched the description of a robbery suspect police were looking for.

The shooting gained particular outrage, both for the nature of what happened but also the video that surfaced - taken by Castile's girlfriend - within the auto. No video existed of exactly what happened inside the vehicle.

After the verdict, the victim's mother Valerie Castile said: "I'm mad as hell right now".

Castiles shooting was among a string of killings of blacks by police around the US, including two other cases on trial this week in OH and Wisconsin. Therefore, Friday night's large-scale protests in St. Paul were expected in the wake of the verdict. However, he was reaching into his pocket to retrieve his identification for the officer, as requested, when shots were fired. He testified that he didn't see Castile's gun, but noted that he was paying more attention to the car's passengers. The last words he spoke before dying were, "I wasn't reaching for it". Defense attorneys pointed to inconsistencies in several of her statements. What is it going to take?

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