Jury for officer who shot Castile ends Day 4 without verdict

Published 7:57 am Friday, June 16, 2017

ST. PAUL — A Minnesota jury ended its fourth day of deliberations Thursday without a verdict in the manslaughter trial of a police officer who killed a black motorist.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot 32-year-old Philando Castile during a traffic stop last July 6 in a St. Paul suburb. Yanez, who is Latino, fired seconds after Castile informed the officer that he was carrying a gun. Castile had a permit for the firearm.

Yanez testified Castile was pulling the gun out against his instructions and he feared for his life. Prosecutors insist Yanez never saw a gun and had plenty of options short of shooting Castile, an elementary school cafeteria worker they say was never a threat. Witness testified that the gun was in the pocket of Castile’s shorts when paramedics pulled him from the vehicle.

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Jurors began deliberations after hearing closing arguments on Monday. Thursday’s deliberations passed quietly, with no sudden hearings or requests to review evidence. On Wednesday, the apparently deadlocked jury was summoned to court by the judge and told to keep deliberating.

On Tuesday, jurors requested another look at dashcam video captured by Yanez’s squad car that shows the shooting. The jury also watched a replay of the video that Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed on Facebook beginning seconds after Castile had been shot. Reynolds and her then-4-year-old daughter were in the car when Castile was shot.

The squad-car video shows a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting, with the camera pointed toward Castile’s car. While it captures what was said between the two men and shows Yanez firing into the vehicle, it does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez might have seen.

The 12-member jury includes two black members. The rest are white. None is Latino.