Yanez Takes the Stand in Trial

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 20, 2017

The defense maintains that Castile was reaching for his gun despite Yanez's repeated commands not to.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota police officer charged in the death of a black motorist testified Friday that he was "scared to death" and fired because the man was pulling out his gun and ignoring commands to stop. Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the death of 32-year-old Philando Castile last July in a St. Paul suburb.

"I had no other choice".

"I was forced to engage Mr. Castile", he said. "He was not complying with my directions". "He'd be remiss in not doing so", Kapelsohn said.

"When (Yanez) said he saw that C-grip. that's Castile pulling it". The gun was found in Castile's pocket after the shooting. He faces one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of unsafe discharge of a firearm for endangering the lives of Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter when he fired seven bullets into the auto. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of second-degree manslaughter. Yanez is expected to testify in his own defense and could take the stand sometime Friday. "That wasn't my intention", Yanez said while wiping tears from his eyes, CNN affiliate WCCO reported.

In the minutes after the shooting, Yanez told a supervisor variously that he didnt know where Castiles gun was and that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Dutton said he concluded that Yanezs statements meant that he didnt see the gun at first, but soon saw Castile trying to pull it out of his right pocket.

Castile was roughly the same age, same race and had similar dreadlocks to the robbery suspect, Yanez testified.

During the lifestream, Reynolds said, "police just shot my boyfriend for no apparent reason".

Kauser stood at the passenger's side of the vehicle as Yanez spoke with Castile through the driver's side.

Prosecutor Richard Dusterhoft asked Yanez about a statement to investigators that he saw the barrel of the gun before he fired.

Bryant said Yanez has an advantage by testifying in his own trial. "My wife. My baby girl". Key issues are where Castile's gun was and whether Yanez saw it.

He told the jury that Castile stared straight ahead and had "total disregard" for the officer's commands to stop reaching for the firearm Castile had just seconds before disclosed he was carrying in the auto.

"I don't know where the gun was". Hardin said he examined autopsy reports showing Castile's blood levels of THC, the substance in marijuana that gives a high.

Kapelsohn couched his opinion by saying ultimately it would be up to the jury to decide if Yanez was telling the truth about actually seeing Castile's hand on the gun during the traffic stop.

He told the jury, "I told him, 'Don't pull it out", but when he saw Castile pull out the top of the gun, "That's when I engaged Mr. Castile and shot him".

Yanez who is Latino, had worked for the St. Anthony Police Department for almost five years when he pulled Castile's auto over.

Kapelsohn told jurors if they decide Yanez saw a gun, then he believed his life was in jeopardy and was justified in shooting. In the video, she claimed Castile had informed the officer about the firearm as well as his license to carry.

When the traffic stop happened, Castile had told Yanez that he had a weapon, an audio recording of the encounter reveals, and Yanez told him not to reach for it. Seconds later, Yanez opened fire. Castile's vehicle also had a broken brake light. The officer backing up Yanez testified that Yanez told him later that he had seen a gun on Castile.

The prosecution's use-of-force expert, Jeffrey Noble, a retired Irvine, Calif., deputy police chief, testified Wednesday that positioning at the pillar provides officers time and space to react to possible danger.

That is a point of contention for the prosecution, which has called the officer's actions "unreasonable" and "excessive" and said he should have been more clear when giving orders to Castile. "He's justified in [using deadly force], and he's trained to do so".

Defense attorneys argue that Castile was stoned at the time of the traffic stop and it influenced his response to the officer.

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