Newly released dashcam video of a police confrontation with Philando Castile reveals that Castile and his passenger told the Minnesota police officer who pulled Castile over that the now-deceased man was not reaching for his gun before the officer fired seven shots in rapid succession, killing Castile.
On Friday, St. Anthony Police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of all charges related to Castile’s shooting death in July 2016, which his girlfriend, who was a passenger in the car, broadcast on Facebook Live just after the officer fired shots. Her four-year-old daughter was in the backseat of the car, and was not harmed.
Yanez reportedly said he shot at Castile because he thought he was reaching for his gun, just after he told the police officer he was in possession of a firearm. Castile’s girlfriend has insisted her boyfriend was reaching for documentation the officer asked him for.
The dashcam video shows a very brief and rather polite exchange between the officer and Castile after Yanez tells him he pulled him over because his car had a broken brake light.
The video was taken from the police cruiser, several yards behind Castile’s vehicle. It does not capture the inside of Castile’s car, which was seen in his girlfriend’s Facebook Live broadcast, but the audio is clear.
Early in the brief exchange, Castile tells Officer Yanez that he has a gun, which was reportedly registered.
“Sir, I have to tell you … I have a firearm on me,” Castile says.
“Don’t reach for it then,” Yanez says.
The officer repeats, “Don’t pull it out” as both Castile and his girlfriend insist he is not reaching for his gun.
Yanez fires seven shots into the vehicle; five of them reportedly hit Castile. While he is still conscious, Castile says one more time, “I wasn’t reaching…”
At his trial, Yanez testified that he believed Castile was reaching for his weapon and that he did not want to shoot at him. He said he felt he and his partner were in danger.
“I didn’t want to shoot Mr. Castile,” Yanez reportedly said in court. “That wasn’t my intention. I thought I was going to die.”
Feature Photo: Handout