Minnesota officer who fatally shot Philando Castile charged with manslaughter

By Daniel Uria

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn., Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile faces three criminal charges for the shooting, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced Wednesday.

St. Anthony, Minn., police Officer Jeronimo Yanez was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm for the July 6 shooting.


Choi concluded that "use of deadly force by Officer Yanez was not justified" when Yanez shot Castile, 32, in the arm after pulling him over for a broken tail light.

Video of the aftermath of the shooting shared by Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, on Facebook Live prompted national protests.

An audio recording released July 12 revealed Yanez stopped the car believing Castile matched the description of a robbery suspect, citing his "wide-set nose."

Choi filed the three criminal charges against Yanez after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reviewed the dash camera footage and audio footage from the day of the shooting for 19 weeks.

Choi cited a "critical minute" in which Castile informed Yanez he was in possession of a firearm as he reached down causing his shoulder to cover his right hand.


"At that point, Officer Yanez said he was scared for his life," Choi said.

Castile could be heard telling the officer he was not reaching for the firearm, as Yanez placed his hand on his weapon before firing seven shots in rapid succession.

Choi explained Castile's final words were "I wasn't reaching for it" and said Yanez's actions did not meet the legal standard for justified use of deadly force.

"His dying words were in protest that he wasn't reaching for his gun," Choi said. "There simply was no objective threat posed to Officer Yanez."

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