Castile shooting: Minnesota officer who shot black motorist acquitted; thousands protest

Castile shooting: Minnesota officer who shot black motorist acquitted; thousands protest

Castile shooting: Minnesota officer who shot black motorist acquitted; thousands protest

Following Friday's verdict, demonstrators closed down Interstate 94 in St. Paul.

The protesters gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol and marched through the streets of St. Paul on Friday night to decry the not guilty verdict returned by a jury in the manslaughter trial of former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez.

Yanez, who is Latino, testified that Castile disregarded his commands not to pull out the gun and that he feared for his life. "I'm mad as hell right now". Officers may have had previous encounters with people carrying guns illegally - especially young black men. The aftermath of the shooting caused a national furor when it was live-streamed on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend, who was a passenger in the auto.

Within hours of the verdict, thousands of protestors came together at the state Capitol, starting a march toward St. Paul Cathedral.

The protesters carried signs reading: "Black Lives Matter" and "Blue Lies Matter" and chanting such phrases as 'Hands up, don't shoot'.

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Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted on three counts, including second-degree manslaughter.

The verdict "tells African-Americans across the country that they can be killed by police officers with impunity, even when they are following the law", said Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat who is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Although he had no serious criminal record, The Associated Press examined records that show he was pulled over around 50 times in recent years in the Minneapolis-St.

High-profile cases like the deaths of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown and Eric Garner ended with the acquittal of the police officer or officers involved or with the charges dropped.

It was delivered in a Ramsey County District Court courtroom packed with family members and friends of both Yanez and Castile. He says he knows Yanez would take back what happened if he could.

"Philando Castile was our lunchman", one child told CBS Minnesota.

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"I don't doubt that Officer Yanez is a decent person, but he made a frightful mistake from our perspective, and that's what this case was about", Choi said, according to the Associated Press (AP).

About 200 people turned out for that demonstration in Minneapolis - the state's largest city that borders St. Paul - according to the Star Tribune newspaper. Her son was wearing a seatbelt and in a vehicle with his girlfriend and her then-4-year-old daughter when he was shot.

"Miss Monique", who says she's a victim of police brutality in Saint Paul, told the crowd they occupied the Fourth Precinct and the Governor's Mansion, shut down I-94 and then went to the courthouse.

The ACLU said in a statement: "Two Supreme Court decisions from the 1980s allow officers to use deadly force when a reasonable officer on the scene could reasonably fear for their safety". Yanez claimed that Castile was reaching for his gun, although prosecution argued that Yanez acted too hastily in the exchange. The officer asked Castile not to pull out the handgun.

The video footage of the aftermath of the shooting taken by Castile's girlfriend had shaped many public perceptions of the fatal shooting before the trial. They spent a lot of time dissecting the "culpable negligence" requirement for conviction, and the last two holdouts eventually agreed Friday on acquittal.

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