Minnesota police officer facing second-degree manslaughter charge

Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez, 28, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of 32-year-old Philando Castile.

Yanez was charged after prosecutors determined that he acted unreasonably when he shot and killed Philando Castile during a July traffic stop in Falcon Heights. The tragic incident happened with 62 seconds passing between the moment Yanez pulled the car over and the fatal shooting. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, streamed the gruesome aftermath of the event live on Facebook. Both she and her young daughter were in the car.

According to The Associated Press, Reynolds said Castile was shot several times while reaching for his ID after telling Yanez he had a gun permit and was armed. Ramsey County Attorney John Choi stated that Yanez shot Castile seven times “in rapid succession” and that the evidence shows Castile was calm and complied with the officer’s requests after he was pulled over.

“No reasonable officer, knowing, seeing and hearing what officer Yanez did at the time, would’ve used deadly force under these circumstances,” Choi said.

Yanez can be heard in real-time audio repeatedly shouting “Don’t pull it out!” before he fired. Prosecutors do not believe Castile ever tried to pull his handgun from his pocket, and Castile’s last words, “I wasn’t reaching for [the gun],” can be heard on the police recording.

The Associated Press further reports Yanez’s attorney, Tom Kelly, has said that Yanez was reacting to the presence of a gun and that one reason Yanez pulled Castille over was because he believed Castille looked like a possible match for an armed robbery suspect. However, on Wednesday, Choi clarified that Castile was not a suspect in the robbery.

Yanez was set to make his first appearance in court on Friday morning, Fox 9 reported. If convicted, Yanez could serve up to 10 years in prison, the maximum penalty  for second-degree manslaughter in Minnesota.

The victim’s uncle, Tracy Castile, 51, told the Daily News before the family appearance at a news conference and said that prosecutors were diligent in their investigation.

“We’re finally getting some justice for some things that shouldn’t be happening,” he told the Daily News. “I’m grateful that there are good people in the world. The attorney general saw what was right and he did the right thing … I thought maybe it would be murder charges, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.”

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