Prosecutors in St. Paul, Minnesota announced today they would arrest the police officer who killed Philando Castile for a number of charges related to his death. Ramsey County attorney John J. Choi said officer Jeronimo Yanez will be charged with second-degree manslaughter as well as two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. In a press conference Wednesday, Choi said, “It is my conclusion that the use of deadly force by Officer Yanez was not justified and that sufficient facts exist to prove this to be true.”
Philando Castile was killed by Officer Yanez during a traffic stop on July 6th. He was shot despite calmly following the officer’s commands, and alerting them to the fact that he had a gun in the car. Lavish Reynolds, who was driving the car Mr. Castile was in at the time of his death, began livestreaming the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live, seconds after it occurred. The video is harrowing, as we see the life fleeing from Mr. Castile’s body and a clearly panicked and distraught Yanez realizes his fatal mistake.
Philando Castile had no criminal record and was a cafeteria and nutrition supervisor at a St. Paul high school. He had been pulled over dozens of times in the past. This incident brought to light a pattern of law enforcement targeting African-Americans for petty traffic infractions and punitive fines. His death was one of many killings of black men by police that have been caught on video and helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement. Castile’s death brought about days of protest demanding for Officer Yanez’ arrest.