The shooting death of Philando Castile: Officer to face charges

A St. Anthony police officer shot and killed Philando Castile, a 32-year-old African-American man, during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, with much of the aftermath recorded on live video.

  • Choi: "I have given Officer Yanez every benefit of the doubt on his use of deadly force. But I cannot allow the death of a motorist who was lawfully carrying a firearm ... to go unaccounted for."
  • I wasn't reaching for it.
    Philando Castile's final words
    by Michael Olson, MPR News edited by Meg Martin, MPR News 11/16/2016 5:09:03 PM
  • Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced Wednesday that he has charged police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the July 6 killing of Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights.

    Philando Castile
    Philando Castile Facebook

    Yanez is charged by the Ramsey County Attorney's Office with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts for dangerous discharge of a firearm near the passengers in the car at the time of the shooting.

    "I know my decision will be difficult for some in our community to accept, but in order to achieve justice we must be willing to do the right thing no matter how hard it may seem," Choi said while announcing the charges.

    Minnesota law justifies the use of deadly force by a police officer, Choi said, only when it's necessary to protect the officer or others from great bodily harm or death. He said the use of Yanez's use of force was not justified. Choi said he didn't think it would be right to ask a grand jury to decide the issue, when "I know in my heart what needs to be done." "No reasonable officer, knowing, seeing and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time would have used deadly force under these circumstances."

    During the announcement for the charges, Choi went over the timeline leading up to Castile's death. He said Yanez signalled to another officer that he was pulling Castile's car over because he looked like a suspects in a robbery because of his "wide set nose."

     

    Officer charged in Castile shooting

    Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced Wednesday that he has charged police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the July 6 killing of Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights.
  • It's just one of many victories that we are pressing forward to have. It's a victory toward justice. I'm kind of speechless, too. It seems surreal.
     
    Pastor Danny Givens, on MPR News with Tom Weber
    by Michael Olson, MPR News edited by Meg Martin, MPR News 11/16/2016 5:12:52 PM
  • The protests are definitely working, because we're taking the issues of justice out to the streets to be heard by all. Prior to BLM coming on the scene and beginning to herald that black lives matter ... we're here to speak as the voice of the voiceless, of the marginalized, of the oppressed.
    Pastor Danny Givens (on MPR News with Tom Weber).
    by Michael Olson, MPR News edited by Meg Martin, MPR News 11/16/2016 5:18:07 PM

  • "Race does play a part in this, but I think it is the culture of policing that's being challenged."
    Pastor Danny Givens (MPR News with Tom Weber)
    by Michael Olson, MPR News edited by Meg Martin, MPR News 11/16/2016 5:20:35 PM
  • "A charge is not going to heal the divisions of the community like we'd all like to see happen. But having said all that, it was a courageous decision. Based on what I've heard, it certainly seems like an appropriate decision, but it certainly seems like a tough one to make."

    -- Susan Gaertner, former Ramsy County Attorney (on MPR News with Tom Weber)
  • John Thompson, center, a friend of Philando Castile’s, reacts to Ramsey County Attorney John Choi’s announcement Wednesday. With Thompson is Cordyonn Nelson, right, and Wintana Melekin of the group Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. (Photo by Evan Frost | MPR News)
     
  • "The mere mention or presence of a firearm alone cannot justify the use of deadly force."
    Ramsey County Attorney John Choi
  • A prosecutor has an ethical obligation not to pursue charges unless he or she believes that htey can prove those charges beyond a reasonable doubt. That is, unless you think you can win the case, you shouldn't file the case.

    Susan Gaertner, former Ramsey County Attorney (on MPR News with Tom Weber)
  • City of St. Anthony statement
    The City has seen the announcement that the Ramsey County Attorney is charging Officer Jeronimo Yanez in the tragic death of Philando Castile.
     
    We are unaware of any additional facts beyond those that have been publicly reported. We have confidence that justice will be served.
     
     Out of respect for the judicial process, the City intends to refrain from making any comments that could hinder a fair and impartial determination.  
     
    We reaffirm our commitment to help heal this painful community experience through community engagement and continuous efforts to create positive change. 
     
  • Falcon Heights press release on Yanez charges

    "The City of Falcon Heights respects the decision of the County Attorney to pursue criminal prosecution of Officer Yanez based on findings from the State’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

    We have heard concerns since the shooting of Mr. Castile from residents and non-residents about issues involving current law enforcement procedures in our community and we will continue to work diligently to review and address those concerns. 

    We have and will continue to have frank discussions with leaders from the City of St. Anthony Village about those procedures, and work with the City to develop a plan to address them.

    Along with the cities of St. Anthony Village and Lauderdale, Falcon Heights will continue to be a part of the tri-city workgroup to review the use of officer worn body cameras.  Falcon Heights has also established an Inclusion and Policing Task Force.  The Task Force will address the topics of police policies, procedures, and training. 

    Our goals are to unify our community around a plan to address the concerns we have heard since this tragic incident, and to work to restore trust between law enforcement officers, and the residents and city visitors whom they serve." (release)
  • It's a bit bittersweet in that we believe that the acts that were recorded and described by diamond that day, support more than second-degree ... charges.
    Larry Rogers Jr., Diamond Reynolds' lawyer (on MPR News with Tom Weber)
  • Diamond has always wanted to fight for Philando. What happened to him was wrong.
    Larry Rogers Jr., Diamond Reynolds' lawyer (on MPR News with Tom Weber)
  • Our role will be to do what we can to assist in ensuring justice will be served through a conviction.
    Larry Rogers Jr., Diamond Reynolds' laywer (on MPR News with Tom Weber)
  • We expect to see a conviction here. We think the evidence is strong. 
    Larry Rogers Jr., Diamond Reynolds' attorney (on MPR News with Tom Weber)
  • It's a tough day for Diamond. She has a range of emotions because she has to keep reliving this. No one chooses to be in this sort of a limelight, but I think she's standing strong and wants to see justice served.
    Larry Rogers Jr., attorney for Diamond Reynolds, Philando Castile's girlfriend, who was in the car, along with her 4-year-old daughter, when he was shot and killed by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez (on MPR News with Tom Weber)
  • Unreasonable fear

    The St. Anthony police officer who killed Philando Castile in July during a traffic stop has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and dangerous discharge of a firearm.

    Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced the charges against Jeronimo Yanez today (Weds). He says prosecutors must take into account that police officers often have to react quickly in dangerous situations. 
     
    Choi says that was not the case during the incident in Falcon Heights. 
     

    Choi says Castile informed Yanez that he had a handgun and repeatedly told the officer he was not reaching for it.. 
  • John Thompson, a friend of Philando Castile, embraces Black Lives Matter St. Paul organizer Corydon Nilsson after hearing that Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced charges in Castile's death. (Evan Frost | MPR News)
     
  • Atty: Charges don't go far enough

     
    Larry Rogers Jr., the attorney for Diamond Reynolds, said her account of Castile’s killing warranted more harsh charges against Yanez.
     
    “We do believe they supported murder charges because there was absolutely no provocation on the part of Philando,” Rogers said. "Absolutely no provocation to justify what happened."Rogers said Reynolds is committing to ensuring that Yanez is convicted, and is willing to testify at the trial. “Our role will be to do what we can to assist in ensuring that justice is served through a conviction,”
     
    Rogers said. “I strongly suspect Diamond will need to be a witness at the trial and will definitely tell the truth and cooperate as she has since day one. “
     
    — MPR News staff
  • FILE - In this July 25, 2016, file photo, a memorial including a photo of Philando Castile adorns the gate to the governor's residence where protesters continue to demonstrate in St. Paul, Minn., against the July 6 shooting death of Castile by St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn. Prosecutors announced Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, that Yanez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the killing. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

  • FILE - This Jan. 8, 2013, file photo provided by Christian Dobratz shows St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez outside the city council chambers in St. Anthony, Minn. Prosecutors announced Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, that Yanez, the officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minn., has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the killing. (Christian Dobratz via AP, File)

  • Ramsey County attorney John Choi announces that Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez will face three charges in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile during a July 6 traffic stop. Yanez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Castile, a black man whose girlfriend streamed the gruesome aftermath of the fatal shooting live on Facebook. (David Joles/Star Tribune via AP)

  • “I have tremendous respect for County Attorney John Choi. He has made one of the hardest decisions a prosecutor has to make. While I have not reviewed the evidence he and his team analyzed, I am confident that his decision was grounded in a thorough investigation of the facts and a deep commitment to upholding his public responsibility. His willingness to be personally responsible for this decision—and to set forth the basis for it— is indicative of his intellect and integrity.  
     
    “I also want, once again, to extend my deepest sympathies to the Castile family. Nothing about this decision will ease their pain or redeem their loss. We will continue to hold them in our thoughts as this process moves forward.” -- St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman
  • Officer Charged In Motorist's Death To Turn Self In

    A prosecutor says the Minnesota police officer charged in the shooting death of a black man hasn't been arrested but has agreed to turn himself in.

    Ramsey County Attorney John Choi says he expects St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez to make his first court appearance Friday on a charge of second-degree manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile.

    In announcing the charges Wednesday, Choi said Yanez was not justified in using deadly force against the 32-year-old Castile during a traffic stop in suburban St. Paul on July 6.

    Yanez is Latino.

    -- Associated Press

  • John Thompson, a friend of Philando Castile's, who broke into tears upon learning the officer who shot Castile will face charges.

  • No easy road ahead in Yanez prosecution for Philando Castile shooting, experts say

    Ramsey County Attorney John Choi’s decision to forego a grand jury review and handle a charging decision himself in the shooting death of Philando Castile was a bold move, according to attorneys who have followed the case. (Pioneer Press)
  • Officer who shot Philando Castile faces charges: 4 essential audio clips

    The St. Anthony police officer who killed Philando Castile in July during a traffic stop has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and dangerous discharge of a firearm.
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