Officer who fatally shot Philando Castile found not guilty
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) — Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last year, was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter Friday.
He also was acquitted of two counts of intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety.
Castile’s death garnered widespread attention after his girlfriend broadcast the shooting’s aftermath on Facebook Live.
Several members of the Castile family screamed profanities and cried after the verdicts were announced, despite warnings from the judge that everyone in the courtroom should remain composed.
“Let me go!” yelled Castile’s mother, Valerie.
The families of Castile and Yanez were escorted out of separate courtroom exits. At least 13 officers were present in the small courtroom when the verdicts were read.
The jury deliberated about 29 hours.
During the two-week trial, prosecutors portrayed Yanez as a nervous officer who lost control of his traffic stop. He was too quick to pull the trigger after learning Castile had a gun based on an unreasonable suspicion that he was a robbery suspect, prosecutors said.
Yanez, a St. Anthony officer, testified he feared for his life because Castile reached for his firearm, despite being instructed not to do.
An audio recording captured Castile telling Yanez he had a gun in the car, and the officer telling Castile not to reach for it. Seconds later, Yanez opened fire.
If he’d been convicted, Yanez could have been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $20,000 on the manslaughter charge and five years and fined $5,000 on each of the other charges.