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Officer justified in firing at motorist

Officer justified in firing at motorist

"I was scared to death". Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the death of 32-year-old Philando Castile last July in a St. Paul suburb. "My wife. My baby girl", he said, according to NBC-affiliate KARE 11.

At times, the 29-year-old Latino man wiped his eyes with a tissue as defense attorney Tom Kelly asked him questions. He said he was convinced that Castile reached for the gun because of Yanez's comments to investigators that he saw Castile's hand form a C-shaped grip of the sort that would be used to grab a thick-gripped pistol.

He said Castile drove past him and looked at him, making Yanez suspicious.

"I had no other choice". Castiles last words were, “I wasnt reaching for it.”. "Those were not my intentions".

On Friday - three days after Reynolds took the stand - Yanez confronted jurors, his family and Castile's family in a packed courtroom and described the thoughts and emotions he experienced after pulling Castile over for a broken taillight, learning that a firearm was in the vehicle and allegedly seeing Castile reach for the gun.

He was the second use-of-force expert to testify on behalf of the defense. He also saw Castile in a seatbelt.

The police officer is the first in modern Minnesota history to be charged in an on-duty shooting.

Yanez, who worked for the St. Anthony, Minnesota, police department, is charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of unsafe discharge of a firearm.

Diamond Reynolds, the girlfriend of Philando Castile, live streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. At the time, there was a question as to whether Castile was a suspect in a recent convenience store robbery.

“We have to look at the totality of the circumstances, ” Mangseth said.

Prosecutors have portrayed Castile as being cooperative when he volunteered to Yanez early during the stop, "Sir, I have to tell you I do have a firearm on me".

Video from a police squad auto includes Castile saying "I'm not pulling it out", as Yanez shot seven times. He said he told him about the brake light and asked for his license and insurance. Castile attended Diehl's class and obtained a permit.

Prosecutors have sought to show Yanez could have taken lesser steps, such as asking to see Castile's hands or asking where the gun was. And he says when Castile reached for something, Yanez was justified in firing.

Whether the officer saw Castile's gun has become a key issue in his trial.

Ultimately, Kapelsohn said he believes the shooting was justified because Castile ignored three "lawful commands" by Yanez not to reach for the gun and that Yanez's conduct was "consistent".




Dutton said Yanez proceeded to exercise sound judgment when he pulled Castile over to further investigate his identity after determining the driver had a broken taillight. He has pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorneys then proceeded to play a squad cam video of Olson giving $40 to Reynolds after Reynolds told him that she and her daughter were hungry and did not have food. In it, Kauser is seen moving away from the vehicle once he hears gunfire.

“Officer Yanez did what he had to do, which was to meet deadly force with deadly force, ” he said.

Dutton said reviewed he reviewed all the videos, transcripts and police reports.

He recounted Yanez as saying: "Crap, I told them barrel".

"So are you saying (Castile) was trying to pull out the gun and shoot the officer", Paulsen finally asked. Yanez said he had "strong suspicions" that Castile was one of the suspects, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune. "You appear to be unsure of what you saw'".

"I'm not sure", Yanez replied before repeating that his statement was given shortly after experiencing a traumatic incident.

The officer testified when he saw Castile's gun, "my family popped into my head". Yanez said it was implied.

Defense attorneys argued that Castile was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the traffic stop and it affected his responses to the officer's orders. The defense then called an expert who testified that Yanez justifiably used deadly force when he shot Castile.

Witnesses said that the gun was in Castile's pocket when he was taken out of the vehicle. Others were asked to weigh in on Yanez's decision not to radio his traffic stop into dispatch if he suspected an armed robber might be in the auto. He said that was significant because it would have meant Castile had the gun all the way out of his pocket when he was shot. The wallet, with Castile's driver's license and gun permit, was found in a pocket at the hospital, but medical staff couldn't specify which one.

When she took the stand on Tuesday, Reynolds was asked why she recorded the incident. The use of force expert left no doubt about his take on the decision to use lethal force.

According to reports, Castile informed Yanez he was armed during a traffic stop.

Several character witnesses also testified.

Closing statements in Yanez's trial will begin Monday morning, followed by jury deliberations. Nine men and six women, with two persons of color, were seated for the trial.


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