Philando Castille

Officer acquitted in Philando Castile killing, outraged family escorted from courtroom

A Minnesota officer on trial for fatally shooting a man at a traffic stop last year was acquitted on all charges on Friday.

New York Times reports that Jeronimo Yanez, of the St. Anthony Police Department, was accused of fatally shooting Philando Castille after pulling him over during a routine traffic stop last summer. Castille’s death evoked national outrage and attention, and sparked protests when his girlfriend streamed the incident on Facebook Live.

Shortly after hearing the verdict, a handful of Castille’s family members started screaming profanities and crying. They were warned by the judge that they should remain composed in the courtroom but Castillo’s mother,Valerie, continue to scream until she was removed from the courtroom.

“Let me go!” she yelled.

Family members of the suspect and family members the victim were escorted out of the courtroom via different doors. Around 13 police officers were on hand in the courtroom while the verdicts were read. Once outside the courtroom, Valerie told the media that she was extremely disappointed in the state of Minnesota.

“Nowhere in the world do you die from being honest and telling the truth. The system continues to fail black people. My son loved this city and this city killed my son and the murderer gets away exclamation are you kidding me right now?”

It took the jury 29 hours to deliberate. They heard two weeks worth of testimony. Prosecutors made Yanez out to be a trigger-happy police officer who was losing control during the traffic stop. They said he was too quick to grab his gun and shoot, based on the unsubstantiated suspicion that the victim was a robbery suspect.

The jury also heard an audio tape the incident in which Castille told the officer that he had a gun in his car. Yanez told him to keep his hands up and not reach for the gun. Seconds later, the officer opened fire. Diamond Reynolds, Casteel’s girlfriend, said that he was not reaching for a gun, but instead, reaching for his identification.

He Yanez been found guilty, he could have faced up to 20 years in prison on charges of endangering safety by discharging a firearm and second degree manslaughter.

[Feature Photo: Handout]