Verdict On Trial Over Shooting Of Philando Castile

Philando Castile
Where does the blame lie? Did the courts get it right?

Almost a year later, since Philando Castile’s death, the trial against Jeronimo Yanez ended last Friday with a not guilty verdict.

In a video publicly released by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, this Tuesday, shows the four- year-old daughter of Castile, warning Diamond Reynolds, her mother to stop yelling after the Yanez had shot Castile, in fear that she would be shot next.

You can see Reynolds screaming “F**k!” just as her cell phone’s battery dies. To this, the child says “No please don’t scream … ’cause I don’t want you to get shooted.”

Reynolds is then seen kissed the child and telling her, “OK, give me a kiss.” Followed by, “My phone just died, that’s all,” Reynold’s confront the chid.

The toddler replies, “I could keep you safe.”

As the video progresses, Reynold’s is seen further confronting the child and saying, “I can’t believe they just did that.”  As Reynold’s tries to remove her handcuffs, you can see the child begging her not to do anything that could get her “shooted.”

“They [sic] not gonna shoot me, OK?” Reynolds says. “I’m already in handcuffs.”

The child begs, “Don’t take them off” and later adds, “I wish this town was safer.”

“I don’t want it to be like this anymore,” she cries.

It was only last year that Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Castile during a traffic stop, since the smell of “burnt marijuana” in Castile’s car gave him the impression that his life might be in danger.

“I thought, I was gonna die,” said Officer Yanez. “And I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five year old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me. And, I let off the rounds and then after the rounds were off, the little girls was screaming.”

While Yanez’s lawyer was able to convince the judge that the case should be closed shut, as Castile was already “stoned” and thus, died due to his own actions. However, what remains in question is that this isn’t the first time that police had encountered danger posed by someone under the influence of marijuana.

As the Washington post points out:

“This isn’t the first time a police officer has cited the alleged danger posed by pot to justify a confrontation that turned deadly. Last year North Carolina police officers decided to confront Keith Lamont Scott in his car after observing him smoking marijuana in it. Like Castile, Scott was a black man. And like Castile, police were aware that Scott had a firearm. ‘Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns,’ the police department said in an incident summary.”

The system continues to fail black people,” Valerie Castile, Castile’s mother said. “Because this happened with Philando, they’re coming for you, for you, for you, and all your interracial children. Y’all are next and you’ll be standing. you’ll be fighting for justice.”

“We’re devolving. We’re going to 1969,” she adds.