Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Officer never saw Philando Castile's gun before shooting, prosecutor says

Officer never saw Philando Castile's gun before shooting, prosecutor says

Yanez previously said he was justified in stopping Castile's auto because he resembled a suspect in a convenience store robbery, court documents said.

After he shot Castile, Yanez is heard on the squad vehicle video telling a supervisor variously that he didn't know where Castile's gun was, then that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Yanez testified Friday that he meant that he didn't know where the gun was "up until I saw it in his right thigh area". It will return Tuesday morning to continue deliberating.

In that Facebook video, Castile - bleeding heavily - insists that he hadn't been reaching for his gun, which he had a permit to carry.

Yanez, who pleaded not guilty, testified on Friday in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul that Castile disregarded the officer's commands and began reaching for a firearm he had disclosed he had in his possession.

St. Anthony Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez, who was charged with second-degree manslaughter, was covered nationally and led to weeks of protests in St. Paul and Minneapolis after he fatally shot Philando Castile, 32, last July.

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The prosecutor said Yanez's defense team may tell you that the shooting was Castile's fault since Castile had marijuana in his system, but Paulsen said there is no credible evidence that he was actually impaired.

Paulsen asked the jury to consider what might have happened if Yanez, when told of the gun, would have stepped back a few feet to better assess the situation. Before Castile finishes that sentence, Yanez has his hand on his own gun and is pulling it out of the holster.

The defense attorney said Castile ignored Yanez's orders and "his hand was down here", demonstrating to jurors where Castile's hand was during the interaction.

The Star Tribune reports that the jury of five women and seven men, including just two people of color, received the case at 1:10 p.m. local time Monday. There is a gun and there is a threat and if Officer Yanez is convicted or even remains in the system with a hung jury, then there isn't one use of force that couldn't come under the same scrutiny.

"We all know this is a sad case".

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Yanez resorted to deadly force "before he was sure", Paulsen said. One of the bullets came within inches of Reynolds, according to the testimony of a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension lab supervisor.

Defense attorney Earl Gray did not pull punches during his closing argument, saying prosecutors had "failed miserably in proving beyond a reasonable doubt". Officer Jeronimo (yeh-RON'-ih-moh) Yanez is charged with manslaughter in Castile's death, which came just seconds after Castile informed the officer he was carrying a gun.

"How did Officer Yanez know that unless he saw it?"

Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, streamed the immediate aftermath live on Facebook, which brought the case extra attention. Gray said prosecutors were taking the statements out of context. Castile is then heard saying, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me".

Squad auto video played repeatedly for the jury last week shows the situation escalated quickly, with Yanez shooting Castile just seconds after the 32-year-old volunteered, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me". "Think about it. Think about an officer in that position".

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Deliberations began Monday afternoon, but jurors went home at 4:30 without a verdict.

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