MINNESOTA, U.S. - A U.S. police officer has been charged for second degree manslaughter, after the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a black man in Minnesota in July this year ignited an ...
• Castile’s family claims he was racially profiled
• Castile’s death led to angry protests, injuring over 20 police officers
• Castile’s girlfriend streamed the video footage of his death
MINNESOTA, U.S. - A U.S. police officer has been charged for second degree manslaughter, after the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a black man in Minnesota in July this year ignited an entire community, leading to several protests.
The accused, St Anthony Police Department officer named Jeronimo Yanez is facing a total of three criminal charges, one charge of second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
The accused will make his first appearance in the court on Friday.
Castile, aged 32 was fatally shot by Yanez during a traffic stop outside St Paul, Minnesota.
He is one of the 839 people fatally shot by police in the country this year.
District prosecutor John Choi said that evidence, including video from a police car, showed that when the officer approached the car, Castile had calmly told him that he was carrying a gun.
According to evidence, Castile uttered his final words, “I wasn't reaching for it.”
Yanez’s lawyers claimed that he reacted to the presence of a gun in the car.
Further claiming that Castile was stopped because he appeared to be a possible match for an armed robbery suspect. Yet, the district prosecutor dismissed the claim.
Castile’s family has claimed that he was racially profiled.
Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds said that he was shot while reaching for his ID after telling the police officer he had a gun and a permit for it.
She streamed the brutal shooting live on Facebook, which brought the incident into national spotlight.
The video footage quickly went viral across social media platforms and cable news, making it one of the most criticised police shootings in recent history.
Announcing the charges against Yanez, Choi said, “I have given officer Yanez every benefit of the doubt on his use of deadly force, but I cannot allow the death of a motorist who was lawfully carrying a firearm under these facts and circumstances to go unaccounted for.”
“My conscience tells me it would be wrong to ask a grand jury to make this decision when I know in my heart what must be done,” Choi added.
In July, Castile’s cousin Damion Pickett said, “He was stopped because they think every African-American does crime but it doesn't happen like that. He was ‘DWB’ – driving while black. They think that of everybody, especially guys with dreads. You cannot label one person just off a few people because every black person is not that.”
Following Castile’s death, hundreds of furious protesters demonstrated outside the governor’s mansion, shutting down a main highway for hours. Police claimed that the protesters hit them with cement chunks, rocks and other objects while protesting, leaving more than 20 police officers injured. The interstate police later arrested 50 protesters.
Castile’s death is one of many police-shooting related incidents reported in the United States in recent years, with numbers rising with each passing year.
While the African American community has been commonly targeted, police officers too have been shot dead quite often, making the situation critical for law enforcement officers across the country.