Closing arguments set in police officer's manslaughter trial

Prosecutors and defense attorneys gave closing arguments Monday in the manslaughter trial of the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile last summer, before the jury began deliberating his fate.

Deliberations began after closing arguments Monday in the trial of St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo (yeh-RON'-ih-moh) Yanez, who's charged in the July death of Philando Castile.

The 32-year-old school cafeteria worker was one in a string of black men to die at the hands of police in recent years, and his death drew additional attention because his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, streamed the gruesome aftermath on Facebook. At stake are charges of second-degree manslaughter and two lesser counts of endangering the safety of Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her daughter, who were both in the vehicle when Yanez fired seven rounds at Castile. Castile had a permit for the weapon.

Yanez testified Friday that he clearly saw a gun and that Castile ignored his commands to stop pulling it out of his pocket. Five of the officer's seven shots struck Castile.

Yanez is charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of risky discharge of a firearm.

In his statement to the BCA about what he saw in Castile's hand, Paulsen claimed Yanez said, "I know he had an object and it was dark".

FILE - In this May 30, 2017, file photo, St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez stands outside the Ramsey County Courthouse while waiting for a ride in St. Paul, Minn.

Earl Gray urged a jury to clear officer Yanez of a manslaughter charge.

Gray used his closing argument to tell the jury that Yanez had plenty of justification for shooting.

He also contested the state's argument that Yanez should have told Castile that he resembled a robbery suspect from four days prior.

"The victim in this case was a good man too", Paulsen said, and referred to Castile's job at an elementary school.

Prosecutors called several witnesses to try to show that Yanez never saw the gun and acted recklessly and unreasonably.

Yanez resorted to deadly force "before he was sure", Paulsen said.

And the definition of "culpable negligence" is "intentional conduct that (Yanez) may not have meant to be harmful, but that an ordinary and reasonably prudent person would recognize as involving a strong possibility of injury to others".

In his rebuttal, Paulsen reiterated to jurors that there was no credible evidence Castile was under the influence of marijuana and one can not conclude he was under the influence simply because THC was in his system.

Conviction of the officer's manslaughter charge requires the jury to find Yanez guilty of "culpable negligence", which the judge described in jury instructions as gross negligence with an element of recklessness.

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