Police officer charged in shooting death of Philando Castile

Police officer charged in shooting death of Philando Castile
Philando Castile (Image: Family photo)

Philando Castile’s fatal encounter last July with St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez lasted only a minute, but quickly escalated from a “respectful and compliant” exchange to one steeped in confusion and fear.

In an extraordinary move by a Minnesota prosecutor, authorities said the officer, not the civilian, is to blame for the tragic events that turned a traffic stop in a Twin Cities suburb into a flash point in the national debate over racial profiling and police use of force.

Yanez pulled Castile, a 32-year-old, over at 9:05 p.m. July 9 on Larpenteur Avenue near Fry Street in Falcon Heights. By 9:06 p.m., the young officer had fired seven shots into Castile’s car, killing him as his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter watched.

For those actions, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said at a news conference Wednesday morning, Yanez will be charged with three felony counts — second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. He’s the first Minnesota officer charged in an on-duty killing in modern memory.

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