Jeronimo Yanez, who fatally shot Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, MN last year, was found not guilty of second degree manslaughter and two counts of felony discharge of a firearm.
“I will continue to say murder[.] I am so very, very, very … disappointed in the system here in the state of Minnesota. Nowhere in the world do you die from being honest and telling the truth.”
In fact, according to Washington Post, the smell of burnt marijuana affected Yanez’ decision making:
“I thought, I was gonna die,” Officer Jeronimo Yanez told investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension fifteen hours after the shooting. “And I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five year old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me. And, I let off the rounds and then after the rounds were off, the little girls was screaming.”
“Drugs and guns don’t mix.”–defense attorney Earl Gray (yes that is his actual name)
As a reminder, Yanez interrupted Castile’s drive for a broken tail light, but then reportedly [in a new angle for the “father smoking marijuana will probably kill me” theory] thought Castile resembled a suspect in a recent robbery. Yanez fired seven times, hitting Castile’s heart twice and, remarkably, his four-year-old daughter in the backseat not at all.
Castile’s weapon was legal and authorized. The prosecution doubted it ever appeared, as Yanez was not wearing a bodycam and the dashcam footage did not reveal the inside of Castile’s car.
“Officer Yanez used deadly force as a first option rather than a last resort.”–Ramsey County Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen
Ten days later, Valerie Castile settled with the city of St. Anthony for $2,995,000. According to Associated Press, this will [avoid] a federal wrongful death lawsuit that attorneys said could have taken years to resolve.
Interestingly, the taxpayers will not shell out. Instead, Minnesota cities contribute to League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, which apparently pays out claims against municipal employees.
Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend who shot the Facebook video of Castile bleeding out immediately after Yanez shot him, was not included in the settlement. Since the maximum payout obligation of LMC is $3 million, Reynolds could potentially file for $5,000.
After Yanez’s acquittal, the city of St. Anthony said it was offering Yanez a “voluntary separation agreement” from the police department, and he would no longer be an on-duty officer.
Thanks to our sources: