Final arguments set in trial of Minnesota cop charged in fatal shooting

Key developments in Minnesota officer's manslaughter trial

The Minnesota police officer charged with fatally shooting a black motorist during a traffic stop a year ago, the aftermath of which was streamed on social media by the driver's girlfriend, was not justified in firing his gun, prosecutors said on Monday.

St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo (yeh-RON'-ih-moh) Yanez is charged with killing Philando Castile following a traffic stop last July in a St. Paul suburb.

As Castile handed over the insurance information, he informed the trigger happy officer that he was carrying a firearm. Castile had a permit for the weapon.

The manslaughter trial went to a jury after both sides gave closing arguments Monday. They were scheduled to deliberate until 4:30 p.m. and will reconvene at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Castile responded, "I was reaching", but before he finished, Yanez, with right hand on his holster, said, "Don't pull it out". He urged a jury to clear the officer.

Prosecutors insisted Yanez never saw a gun and had plenty of options short of shooting Castile, an elementary school cafeteria worker they say was never a threat.

After he shot Castile, Yanez is heard on the squad vehicle video telling a supervisor variously that he didn't know where Castile's gun was, then that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Yanez testified Friday that he meant that he didn't know where the gun was "up until I saw it in his right thigh area". He also cited testimony from first responders who saw Castile's gun in his pocket as he was loaded onto a backboard.

In his final instructions to the jury, Ramsey County District Judge William H. Leary III pointed that out - and also defined what the jury's legal standard should be to convict Yanez of the individual charges.

"We know my son shouldn't have died in the manner that he had died because that officer had enough time to make a pertinent decision whether or not to use deadly force", Castile said.

Leary instructed the jury to consider each offense that Yanez has been charged with, as well as the evidence pertaining to each, separately. "Stay with me", Reynolds told a bleeding, gasping Castile. (Yanez) fired seven rounds into that auto.

As Paulsen concluded his closing statements, the judge instructed the jurors that "culpable negligence" is a high level of negligence - gross negligence coupled with recklessness.

Reynolds said last week that she showed the video because she did not trust police.

"None of this would have happened but for Philando Castile", Gray said.

Attorney Earl Gray gave the defense's closing arguments with conviction.

"You didn't say firearm", Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Rick Dusterhoft said of Yanez's BCA interview.

They must unanimously agree about whether Yanez was guilty or not guilty on each of the three charges Yanez faces: second-degree manslaughter and two counts of felony risky discharge of a firearm.

In his rebuttal, Paulsen reiterated to jurors that there was no credible evidence Castile was under the influence of marijuana and one can not conclude he was under the influence simply because THC was in his system. The patrolman's shouted expletives at his targeted victim and claimed in court that he opened fire because Castile was reaching for a gun.

After the three alternates were excused Monday, the jury consisted of two African-Americans and 10 jurors who appear to be white.



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