Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Minnesota cop's fatal shooting of black motorist not justified

Francis Olson | 14 June, 2017, 06:31

Closing arguments are set to begin on Monday in the trial of a Minnesota police officer charged with fatally shooting a black motorist during a traffic stop previous year, the aftermath of which was streamed on social media by the driver's girlfriend.

FILE - In this July 25, 2016, file photo, a memorial including a photo of Philando Castile adorns the gate to the governor's residence in St. Paul, Minn., protesting the July 6, 2016 shooting death of Castile by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez.

Seventy-four seconds is the amount of time that elapsed between the moment Yanez turned on his squad auto lights to the moment he fired the seventh and final shot into Castile's vehicle.

Paulsen rebutted the defense's argument that Castile ignored Yanez's commands not to reach for his gun.

Yanez's manslaughter trial went to a jury after both sides gave closing arguments in which they recapped their versions of a shooting that drew extra attention because Castile's girlfriend livestreamed the gruesome aftermath on Facebook.

Yanez faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the manslaughter charge.

Castile had the right to be treated like an "ordinary citizen" the night he was pulled over for a broken tail light, prosecutor Jeffrey Paulsen told jurors Monday morning.

Closing arguments are set for Monday in a Minnesota police officer's manslaughter trial in the death of a black motorist. Castile was courteous, non-threatening and kept his hands in view while Yanez spoke to him, Paulsen said.

Squad-car video played repeatedly for the jury last week shows that the situation escalated quickly, with Yanez shooting Castile just seconds after the driver volunteered, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me".

AG Rosenstein sees no reason to fire Mueller
She said such a move would "destroy any shred of trust in the president's judgment that remains over here". Rosenstein said that while it depends on the circumstances, "I think the general answer is no".

"I know that people are not protected against the police", she said, according to Minneapolis-based reporter Jon Collins.

The defense argued that the use of deadly force was justified because the officer saw Castile going for his gun and that Castile disobeyed his instructions. And he said Yanez was afraid for his life.

He says Yanez legitimately thought Castile was a robbery suspect.

"You didn't say firearm", Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Rick Dusterhoft said of Yanez's BCA interview.

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Gray immediately said he wanted to "get rid of that theory".

Yanez previously said he was justified in stopping Castile's vehicle because he resembled a suspect in a convenience store robbery, court documents said. He said Castile disregarded the officer's orders and reached for his gun because he was stoned on marijuana. Defense attorneys highlighted inconsistencies in Reynolds' statements to investigators to try to raise doubts about her honesty. But a prosecution expert testified there's no way to tell when Castile last smoked marijuana or whether he was high. "No", Yanez said, "I was sure".

Gray reminded the jury of the officer's testimony that Castile looked like a man who robbed a convenience store four days earlier.

Meanwhile, supporters of Castile also gathered Tuesday at the St. Paul courthouse where the jury was deliberating.

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