74 Seconds: The trial of officer Jeronimo Yanez | Minnesota Public Radio News

74 Seconds: The trial of officer Jeronimo Yanez

In July 2016, officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop in a Twin Cities suburb. The world watched the aftermath, live on Facebook. Yanez was charged in Castile's death. Jurors found him not guilty on all charges June 16, 2017.

This is the archive of MPR News' live coverage of the trial, starting from the beginning. The newsroom also covered the trial and its aftermath on the air, online and in the 74 Seconds podcast.

    • No arrests yet. Protestors are off of the freeway mainlines, but are on the ramp to Marion. Protest crowd is getting much thinner.
    • Protestors are being arrested who failed to leave the freeway.
    • First arrest on 94/Marion.
    • Protestors are being arrested who failed to leave the freeway.
    • First arrest on 94/Marion.
    • Last night, protesters shut down I-94. It was a peaceful protest, and only a handful of people were arrested. live.mprnews.org/Event/The_tria… https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DChvfVbV0AAi-ge.jpg

    • The aftermath: 18 arrested in peaceful protests following the verdict

      Police arrest protesters who do not leave the freeway during a protest after officer Yanez was found not guilty.

      Eighteen people were arrested after a march that blocked Interstate 94 in St. Paul late Friday night and into early Saturday morning. Marchers were protesting the acquittal of a police officer who shot and killed a black driver.

      A Ramsey County jury found St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty on all three charges against him related to the traffic-stop death of Philando Castile last July. The charges included second-degree manslaughter and two counts of felony discharge of a firearm, for endangering Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter, who were in the car during the stop.

      Minnesota State Patrol spokesperson Lt. Tiffani Nielson said in a news release Saturday that officers began arresting protesters at 12:30 a.m. after issuing three warnings for them to get off of I-94 in St. Paul.

      She said those arrested were booked at Ramsey County Jail on charges including being a pedestrian on the busy freeway.

      Three and a half hours after the verdict was announced Friday afternoon at the Ramsey County Courthouse, hundreds convened at the Minnesota State Capitol just a mile across town to show support for the Castile family in a protest and vigil.

      "I'm paralyzed by the spirit of the verdict," said Pastor Danny Givens, a clergy liaison to Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, told the crowd. "I can't find words. I'm not surprised but I really just can't find the words."

      From the capitol, marchers moved down University Avenue, where they blocked Green Line light rail trains along the way and interrupted service for about an hour.

      Protesters then marched through St. Paul streets — past the funeral home where Philando Castile's body was carried to his memorial; near the elementary school where he worked in the lunchroom; and through part of the neighborhood where he grew up. They moved on to I-94 in the late hours of Friday night, blocking both east- and westbound lanes. Just after midnight, the State Patrol estimated there were 500 protesters on the interstate.

      After police issued warnings, most moved from the freeway to the frontage roads to cheer on the small group that remained to be arrested.

      The freeway reopened around 1:30 a.m. after the State Patrol and St. Paul police moved the last protesters off the highway.


      by Regina McCombs, MPR News edited by Paul Tosto, MPR News 6/17/2017 5:50:10 PM
    • About 250 people march from St. Anthony Police headquarters down Silver Lake Road, chanting “No killer cops, no KKK, no racist U.S.A.” on June 18, 2017.

    • Yanez dashcam video: 'I'm not pulling it out.' 'Don't pull it out!'

      Updated 4:35 p.m. | Posted 3:12 p.m.
      Riham Feshir | MPR News
      St. Paul -- Eight seconds. That's how fast a traffic stop turned into tragedy. 
      St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez had pulled over motorist Philando Castile in Falcon Heights July 6, telling his partner he thought Castile resembled a suspect in a recent convenience store holdup.
      As he hands over his insurance card, Castile tells Yanez in a low key voice, "Sir, I have to tell you I do have a firearm on me."
      "OK, OK, don't reach for it, then. Don't pull it out," Yanez tells him as the officer puts his hand on his holstered gun.
      "I'm not pulling it out," Castile responds.
      "Don't pull it out!" Yanez yells as he pushes his left hand into the car through the driver's side window and draws his weapon.
      "No!" Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds yells just before the first shot. Yanez fires seven times. Five hit Castile.
      Those eight seconds — from the time Castile starts telling Yanez that he has a gun to the first shot — are part of the dashcam footage from Yanez’s squad that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension made public Tuesday as part of the massive evidence file collected in the investigation into Yanez’s shooting of Castile. 
      The dashcam footage from Yanez’s squad car is the only video that captured the shooting of Castile. The other video, Reynolds’ Facebook Live, captured the immediate aftermath of the shooting and was shared worldwide on social media.
      The dashcam video was a key piece of evidence that led Ramsey County Attorney John Choi to bring a manslaughter charge against Yanez. Prosecutors used the video during Yanez's trial.
      The video includes audio from a microphone Yanez was wearing and a conversation he had with his supervisor about the shooting. The jury watched this video multiple times during the state’s case and when they asked to see it again during deliberations. The defense didn’t present the video during its case.
      Officials also released the initial call audio from Yanez to his partner that's he's pulling Castile over, via Ramsey County.
      Here's the squad video and Reynolds' Facebook Live edited side-by-side.
      (Warning: Graphic content and language)

      Yanez was acquitted last week on all charges tied to the shooting, including manslaughter. Castile supporters slammed the verdict as unjust. The family has said it plans to file a wrongful death civil suit in the matter.
      Castile, a school cafeteria supervisor, was not the suspect Yanez was seeking that night and he had a legal permit to carry his weapon.
      Prosecutors had argued during the trial that Yanez never saw a gun, was nervous and used deadly force recklessly in shooting a courteous and cooperative Castile, while Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter sat in the car.
      "You should think from the viewpoint of the officer, reacting to the actions of the driver, who becomes non-compliant with the rather loud and direct commands of the officer," Yanez defense attorney Tom Kelly told MPR News earlier in the day Tuesday.
      "You’ll also see the officer physically tried to restrain the driver, which is not a fact that’s been mentioned much, and reaches in with his left arm to push Mr. Castile’s hand away from the gun," Kelly said. "So it’s obvious that he sees the gun and reacts to it."
      Others who saw the video after its release on Tuesday held a different perspective.
      "We continue to believe the killing of Philando was senseless, without cause, and veiled in unfounded racial fear and prejudice," state lawmakers in the Minnesota House People of Color and Indigenous Caucus said in a statement, adding that "urgent reform of our policing and criminal justice systems is needed."
      Listen: The BCA's interviews with Diamond Reynolds, Jeronimo Yanez and Joseph Kauser (interview No. 1 and No. 2).
      Transcript of the interview between Yanez and BCA investigators following the shooting:
      by Paul Tosto, MPR News edited by Meg Martin, MPR News 6/20/2017 8:12:14 PM
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