We all saw the shocking video last summer. Philando Castile had just been shot in Minnesota and was bleeding to death in the passenger seat of his fiancé’s car, while she calmly filmed the video and streamed it live to Facebook to let the world know what happened. Presumably, she was trying to preserve this horrible and fatal moment in order to obtain some accountability for the police officer involved. But as we know, police officers seem to be able to shoot unarmed black people without consequence. And in this case, it happened again. On Friday, the officer who killed Castile was acquitted.
Had he been convicted, the officer, Jeronimo Yanez of the St. Anthony Police Department, would have faced up to 20 years in prison for second-degree manslaughter and endangering safety by discharging a firearm.
But he wasn’t. Even though we know he endangered the life of Castile, his fiancé, and their child, he was set free. Apparently, this was because Castile matched the description of a robbery suspect in the area. So murdering an innocent man was justified, so said the jury.
Officer Yanez did not tell Mr. Castile about the robbery suspicions, only that his brake light was out. But [Mr. Gray, a lawyer for Officer Yanez] said that this approach made sense, and that Officer Yanez had acted reasonably given his training and what he knew that night.
“He did what he had to do,” Mr. Gray said, adding that the situation was “tragic.”
Tragic? That’s not the only word to describe what happened here. Murder is more like it. This officer is now free. Philando Castile is dead and once again there is no justice.