Minnesota officer acquitted in Philando Castile death

He also was acquitted & found not guilty of two counts of intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety, ultimately meaning he's walking away scotch free now.

A Minnesota police officer was acquitted on Friday in the slaying of a black motorist he shot five times during a traffic stop previous year, an incident that drew national attention after the victim's girlfriend live-streamed the bloody aftermath on social media.

Castile's mother reportedly stormed out of the courtroom when the verdict was read. And, when the verdict was real aloud in court, Castile's family angrily stormed out of the courtroom.

"We're not evolving as a civilization, we're devolving".

"The fact in this matter is that my son was murdered, and I'll continue to say murdered, because where in this planet (can you) tell the truth, and you be honest, and you still be murdered by the police of Minnesota", said Valerie, Castile's mother.

Outside the courthouse, Valerie Castile said Yanez got away with "murder", noting that her son was wearing a seatbelt and in a auto with his girlfriend and her then-4-year-old daughter when he was shot.

Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen highlighted autopsy evidence in his closing argument, reminding the jury of a bullet wound to what would have been Castile's trigger finger - and that there was no corresponding bullet damage nor wounds in the area of Castile's right shorts pocket, where he carried his gun.

"We're not evolving as a civilization, we're devolving". We're devolving. We're going back down to 1969!

"It's your testimony today that you saw Mr. Castile pull out an object?" prosecutor Rick Dusterhoft said Friday.

Yanez testified that Castile ignored his commands not to pull out the gun and he feared for his life. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton included his voice in that conversation shortly after the incident and suggested that had Castile been white, he wouldn't have been shot. "That wasn't my intention". Defense lawyers also said Yanez smelled marijuana in the vehicle.

Yanez did not tell Castile about the robbery suspicions, only that his brake light was out. Diamond Reynolds, Casteel's girlfriend, said that he was not reaching for a gun, but instead, reaching for his identification. Castile's family said he was profiled because of his race, African-American.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez was cleared of that charge and two lesser ones Friday in the death of 32-year-old Philando Castile.

There's a reason the hashtag #PhilandoCastile is trending on Twitter, and Officer Jeronimo Yanez's name is getting attention as well.

"It's a sad state of affairs when this type of criminal conduct is condoned simply because Yanez is a policeman", Reynolds said in a statement (via ABC News).

Asked if he wanted to shoot Castile, the police officer began to cry, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Castile's death, which came during a summer of highly-publicized police killings, sparked nationwide protests due to the brutal broadcast of him dying, which was captured on the popular social media platform.

Following the verdict, Yanez was sacked by the police department.

St. Anthony, located northwest of St. Paul, said in a statement on its website that "the public will best be served" if Yanez is no longer employed by the police department there. "The terms of this agreement will be negotiated in the near future, so details are not available at this time".

Juror Dennis Ploussard said the jury was split 10-2 early this week in favour of acquittal.

"He was compliant", Choi said. "We're very satisfied in the verdict".

Surrounded by reporters and sheriff deputies, jurors leave the Ramsey County Courthouse. "Their decision must be respected". - Glenda Hatchett, Castile family attorney.

The footage then goes on to show Yanez yelling, "I told him not to reach for it!"

The ACLU and Amnesty International issued statements criticizing the verdict and NAACP Legal Defense Fund Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill said the jury's decision shows how hard it is to prosecute a police officer in a fatal shooting.

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