Officer may have interacted with Castile

Published 10:26 am Friday, July 22, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota police officer and the black motorist he shot to death during a traffic stop may have interacted in a previous stop more than four years earlier, newly released records released show.

Philando Castile, 32, died July 6 after he was pulled over by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez in suburban St. Paul. Yanez’s attorney has said the officer was reacting to seeing a gun. Castile’s girlfriend, who streamed the aftermath of the shooting live on Facebook, said Castile was shot while reaching for his ID after telling the officer he had a gun permit and was armed.

Records released Thursday by the city of St. Anthony in response to a request from The Associated Press also include a report on a July 2 armed robbery at a Super USA convenience store that lists Yanez as one of two officers assigned to investigate. The robbery occurred a few blocks away from where the traffic stop took place four days later.

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Yanez’s attorney, Thomas Kelly, has said that when Yanez stopped Castile he was approaching someone he thought resembled a suspect in an armed robbery.

Castile’s family has questioned that, saying his long history of traffic stops — at least 52 times in recent years — suggested he was racially profiled.

The traffic stop included in Thursday’s release was made in November 2011, with Castile pulled over for a defective brake light. He was arrested on a Hennepin County warrant for driving with a revoked license.

Yanez wasn’t the arresting officer, but the arrest report lists an “Officer Yanez” as one of two officers who drove Castile several miles to the county jail.