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Philando Castile Shooting Trial Update: Police Officer Charged With Manslaughter

( [email protected] ) Nov 17, 2016 09:30 AM EST
Prosecutors announced that the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile last July has now been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Officer Jeronimo Yanez, an officer from St. Anthony, Minnesota, shot Castile four times in the arm and Castile died 20 minutes later.
Diamond Reynolds, girlfriend of Philando Castile, weeps as people gather to protest the fatal shooting of Castile by Minneapolis area police during a traffic stop on Wednesday, in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S., July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Adam Bettcher/File Photo

Prosecutors announced that the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile last July has now been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Officer Jeronimo Yanez, an officer from St. Anthony, Minnesota, shot Castile four times in the arm and Castile died 20 minutes later.

Shortly after shooting the Castile, who was black, Diamond Reynolds, one of the passengers in the car, streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live. The shooting was one of the several deaths of men and boys who are black under the hands of police officers, and the death of Castile brought about protests in St. Paul, Minnesota.

BBC reports the announcement made by district prosecutor John Choi, who said that the evidence presented, which includes video taken from the police car, clearly shows that Castile informed the officer that he had a firearm with him, and that it was licensed.

Prosecutor Choi further relates that Officer Yanez warned Castile not to pull his gun out, and the victim and his girlfriend reassured the officer that he was not going to do that. The next footage showed the officer screaming, pulling his gun and firing at the victim.  The dying words of Mr. Castile were "I wasn't reaching for it." Castile was carrying a .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun in his pocket.

"No reasonable officer knowing, seeing and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time would have used deadly force under these circumstances," Choi said at the news conference Wednesday morning. "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 under these facts and circumstances to go unaccounted for."

The Washington Post says that Officer Yanes would not only be charged with second-degree manslaughter, but also with endangering the lives of Philando Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter, who was in the backseat of the car at the time of the shooting.

In the investigation, it was found out that Officer Yanes and his partner stopped the car of Philando Castile because he matched a suspect in an armed robbery. But his family claims that he was targeted due to his race.

Lawyers of Officer Yanes that he was scared because of the gun that Castile seemed to be getting and that he feared for his life. He could face a maximum of 20 years in prison for the charges files against him.

Philando Castile worked as a cafeteria manager at a local school in Minnesota. In a database complied by The Washington Post, Castile is just of  840 individuals who were shot by police officers, and that's just for this year alone.