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Published: Thu, November 17, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Philando Castile death: Police officer Jeronimo Yanez charged with manslaughter

Philando Castile death: Police officer Jeronimo Yanez charged with manslaughter

Prosecutors announced Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, that Yanez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the killing.

Diamond Reynolds, Castile's girlfriend, was in the vehicle with her 4-year-old daughter at the time of the shooting.

In a press conference held on Wednesday morning, Ramsey County's Attorney John Choi explained the moments leading up to Castile's death in graphic detail before declaring that based on the evidence, there was no legitimate justification for Castile's death.

"Philando Castile did not exhibit any intent, nor did he have any reason to shoot officer Yanez", Choi said.

Choi's office has said a key question in his review was determining whether Yanez was justified in believing deadly force was necessary.

"No reasonable officer knowing, seeing and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time would have used deadly force under these circumstances", Choi said. He faces up to 10 years in prison on the manslaughter charge if convicted.

Choi said Yanez fired seven rounds into the vehicle.

Choi said Castile's gun was later found deep in a front pocket of his shorts, with a loaded magazine but no bullet in the chamber.

Kelly did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment on the charges Wednesday.

But Castile, an elementary school worker who had a concealed weapons permit, was not a felon.

Choi resisted pressure immediately after the shooting to turn the case over to a special prosecutor, but he added one to his team to get an outside perspective. A prosecutor said Wednesday in filing the charge that Yanez wasn't justified in using deadly force. The interstate protest resulted in about 50 arrests and injuries to more than 20 officers who were hit with cement chunks, bottles, rocks and other objects.

August 24: The St. Anthony Police Department says it put Yanez back on administrative leave after he had briefly returned to limited duty, citing "concerns and other feedback from the community".

Falcon Heights, which contracts with St. Anthony for police services, sought to assure the community that Castile's death will be a catalyst for change. Census data shows that just 7 percent of residents in the three cities are black.

The fatal shootings of black men and boys by police officers have come under heightened scrutiny since the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Reynolds' 4-year-old daughter was also in the auto when the shooting occurred. The officer says in the video that he had "told him not to reach for it".

The announcement comes one day after the anniversary of the high-profile killing by police of another black man in Minnesota, Jamar Clark in Minneapolis. More recently, Betty Jo Shelby, a white Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer was charged with first-degree manslaughter in the September 16 shooting of Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old unarmed black man whose auto was stopped in the middle of the road.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman decided no charges would be filed in that case, opting to make the decision himself instead of handing the case to a grand jury.

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