Minnesota officer fired from police force after acquittal in Philando Castile shooting

Updated: A Minnesota police officer has been acquitted in the shooting death last summer of a cafeteria supervisor, an incident that received widespread attention because victim Philando Castile’s girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath on Facebook. Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, abruptly left the court after the announcement and before court was formally dismissed.”He is the driving force in me to make sure this doesn’t happen to another mother”, she has said. At least 13 officers were present in the small courtroom. Officer Yanez was the police officer seen in a viral Facebook Live video after he shot and killed Philando Castile.”The system continues to fail black people, and it will continue to fail you all”, Valerie Castile said. “I’m mad as hell“.The footage sparked protests across the United States and further exposed tensions between USA police and African Americans. I thought I was going to die.A jury found Officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty of one count of manslaughter and two counts of endangerment by intentionally shooting a firearm.The evidence included squad vehicle video, but its wide view didn’t capture exactly what happened inside the auto – leaving jurors to essentially decide whether they believed Yanez when he said Castile had his hand on the gun. Prosecutors questioned whether Yanez had even seen it, and witnesses testified that it was in a pocket of Castile’s shorts when paramedics pulled him from the vehicle. “That wasn’t my intention”. She also acknowledged that she and Castile smoked marijuana regularly, and that marijuana was in the auto at the time of the shooting.Castile had informed the officer that he was carrying a firearm, for which he had a permit. Castile said he was not taking out the gun, which Reynolds echoed.Yanez testified that Castile was pulling his gun out of his pocket despite his commands not to do so. Quick with a high-five for students and always eager to sneak kids extra graham crackers and other treats, Castile was known simply as “Mr. Phil”. Prosecutors maintained that Yanez put their lives in danger when he opened fire into the auto.Yanez proceeded to tell him not to reach for it, to which Castile replied that he wasn’t.CNN has not obtained a statement from Yanez or his lawyers.Castile was killed one day after the July 5 fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which was partly captured on bystander video. Sadly, a conviction did not follow in this brutal and disturbing case that further affirms the strained relationship between law enforcement and the Black community.The federal government announced last month that it will not prosecute the officers in the Sterling killing. He faced up to ten years in prison and a $20,000 fine. The attacker in Dallas told police he was angered by the shootings of Castile and Sterling, authorities said.After officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot Castile during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016, demonstrations took place across the nation, partly because the aftermath of the shooting was live-streamed on Facebook by Castile’s girlfriend, a passenger in the vehicle. The statement says the city plans to offer him a “voluntary separation” so he can find another job.