Officer justified in firing at motorist

Jeronimo Yanez

Jeronimo Yanez

Closing arguments were expected Monday.

Yanez said Castile had a nonworking brake light, which gave him legal grounds to stop him.

Yanez testified Friday that he saw Castile's gun and Castile ignored his commands not to pull it out of his pocket.

Yanez's fate rests in the hands of a jury who will deliberate at the close of the trial.

Defense attorneys unsuccessfully tried to block one of two black jurors from the final group of 15 (12 jurors and 3 alternates), arguing a female immigrant from Ethiopia didn't understand the criminal justice system well enough to follow the proceedings.

"I'm not pulling it out", Castile replied as Yanez opened fire.

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

The groceries Reynolds had bought with her sister the day of the shooting were left in Castile's auto and had been placed in evidence after the incident.

"I had no other choice", said Yanez during the first day of testimony in his murder trial.

A Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter in a black motorist's death is explaining how he came to pull the man's auto over. Once he saw Castile's hand on the gun, Dutton explained that de-escalating the situation was no longer an option.

According to KSTP-TV, Yanez testified that when Castile "was reaching, he looked straight ahead" but "continued to reach toward his pocket".

Yanez says he thought Castile looked like one of the robbery suspects.

On Friday - three days after Reynolds took the stand - Yanez confronted jurors, his family and Castile's family in a packed courtroom and described the thoughts and emotions he experienced after pulling Castile over for a broken taillight, learning that a firearm was in the auto and allegedly seeing Castile reach for the gun. Hardin said his opinion was based on Castiles blood levels of THC, the high-inducing agent in marijuana. So he had to act fast not knowing if a weapon would be drawn on him.

When he told Castile not to reach for his weapon, Yanez said, "I was able to see his right hand, it was in a C-shape".

He also said Yanez's initial response to learning Castile had a firearm was "moderate".

Yanez's attorneys say the St. Anthony police officer made a reasonable split-second decision in the presence of a gun and fearing for his life. Officer Jeronimo Yanez was asked to clarify audio recorded at the scene. The exchange took just over a minute and Castile's permit to carry a gun was later found in his wallet.

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".

"I told him not to reach for it", a visibly agitated Yanez is heard saying on Reynolds's video, where he continues to point his gun at the driver as he lie in his seat bleeding.

Kapelsohn says if Yanez believed he saw a gun, he was justified to shoot.

Squad auto video recorded Yanez in the moments after the shooting telling a supervisor that he didn't know where the gun was. "I told him to take his (expletive) hand off the gun".

According to Erdman, Yanez immediately told him that he mistakenly said "barrel" instead of "slide" during the BCA interview.

Dutton was a police officer for 31 years and now teaches classes on use of force.

A Castile family spokeswoman after court Friday said they would have no comment until after the verdict.

Philando Castile funeral was held on July 14, 2016 in St. Paul Minnesota. Castile had told the officer moments earlier he was carrying a gun. He rejected prosecutor Jeff Paulsen's assertion Friday that the central question in the case is whether Yanez saw Castile's gun.

In addition to Yanez and Kauser, Reynolds, various law enforcement officials who responded to the shooting and experts on use of force and toxicology testified during the week of testimony.

Emanuel Kapelsohn was the second such expert in two days called by attorneys for Officer Jeronimo Yanez.

His lawyer said after the incident, "I can tell you that the stop of the vehicle for an equipment violation was not the only reason for the stop".

"I did not want to shoot Mr. Castile".

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.

Dutton said he reviewed all the videos, transcripts and police reports.

In this May 30, 2017, file photo, St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez stands outside the Ramsey County Courthouse while waiting for a ride in St. Paul, Minn. Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the killing of Philando Castile in the St. Paul suburb last July.

Both the prosecution and defense also called use-of-force experts to testify on behalf of their side.

However, the state took issue with his analysis and said it left out key elements of the case.

Yanez is charged in the death of 32-year-old Philando Castile during a traffic stop last July in a St. Paul suburb.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez who fatally shot Philando Castile in his auto while his girlfriend and 4-year-old daughter were sitting in the vehicle, sobbed while telling jurors what happened from his vantage point.

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