Officer Who Killed Black Motorist Philando Castile to Take the Stand

Tina Ray
June 10, 2017

He said Castile gave him a "deer in the headlights" look when Yanez passed the auto two miles before he pulled Castile over. Yanez testified Friday that Castile disregarded his commands not to reach for the gun and that he clearly saw it before he fired.

Prosecutors have sought to show Yanez could have taken lesser steps, such as asking to see Castile's hands or asking where the gun was.

"I don't have to stick my hand in the pocket", he said. "I feared for my daughter's safety and my safety because a gun was pointed in our vehicle".

Erdman said Yanez was "hyper-vigilant" and initially did not cry but then eventually "broke down", saying, "That poor little girl".

Officer Jeronimo Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile. Yanez had pulled the 32-year-old cafeteria worker over because of a faulty brake light, after following him for 2 miles before activating his lights and sirens in July 2016. Castile had a permit for the gun.

Yanez told the jury the reasons why he stopped Castile on that July 6 night - that his description fit that of a robbery suspect, an incident he responded to on July 2.

He said Castile drove past him and looked at him, making Yanez suspicious.

KARE 11's Lou Raguse said during Yanez's testimony, Castile's family looked on, completely composed.

Instead of retreating to a safer position for himself, he added that Yanez remained at Castile's window so he could point down and to the left to avoid injury to the other passengers in the vehicle.

"It is my opinion Officer Yanez used reasonable force", Kapelsohn said. Castile started saying he wasn't reaching for it, but the officer interrupted and said, "Don't pull it out".

A key issue in the trial is what Yanez saw before he fired seven shots into Castile's auto.

A toxicology expert says he believes a black motorist who was shot to death during a traffic stop in Minnesota was under the influence of marijuana.

Police officer Jeronimo Yanez. Castile had a permit for the weapon.

Witnesses testified that the gun was in Castile's right front pocket when paramedics removed him from the vehicle.

Castile died, insisting that he hadn't been reaching for his handgun.


Emanuel Kapelsohn, a use-of-force expert, argued that Yanez was justified to open fire if he had reasonable belief that Castile was drawing a firearm.

On the squad auto video, Castile can be heard saying, "I'm not pulling it out", as Yanez opened fire.

Paulsen pressed him on why he didn't mention in his written report that both Castile and his girlfriend told Yanez that he wasn't reaching for his gun.

Then, when Castile told him he had a firearm, Yanez reacted within the bounds of his training when he told him not to reach for "it".

Reynolds said Tuesday she showed the video because she did not trust police.

Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the July death of Castile during a traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb.

The bullets almost struck Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter in the back seat, forensic scientist Lindsey Garfield testified Wednesday.

About 100 people are packed into the courtroom Friday, including 40 family members, 24 reporters and eight attorneys.

Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen, on cross-examination, asserted that "the ultimate question" in the case was whether Yanez saw a gun.

When asked by a lawyer if use of force was necessary, Yanez replied "Yes". Prosecutors have portrayed Castile as being cooperative when he volunteered to Yanez early during the stop, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me".

Kapelsohn said it was possible Castile didn't have his hand in or near his pocket at that point.

Yanez explained to jurors that Castile did not make eye contact and was "mumbling" and "talking forward" and "wanted to do what he wanted to do".

While inside the vehicle Kapelsohn timed how quickly a 9 mm gun could be drawn from those shorts while sitting in the driver's seat, and he testified it took just 3/10 of a second on average.

Yanez has not spoken publicly about the shooting before Friday, though his comments to investigators have been reported in the media.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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