Officer Charged With Manslaughter in Killing of Philando Castile

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The Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile in July has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, a prosecutor announced Tuesday.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez will also be charged with two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm after shooting Castile as he was sitting in a car with his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter. According to his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who livestreamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook, Castile was shot while putting his hands in the air after telling Yanez he had a concealed pistol, which he was licensed to carry.

Ramsey County attorney John Choi explained the decision to charge Yanez like this:

“Under Minnesota law, the use of deadly force by a police officer is justified only when necessary to protect the officer or another from apparent death or great bodily harm. In addition, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly made it clear that a police officer’s use of deadly force must be evaluated in the context of what a reasonable police officer would do in the same situation given the danger and stress of police work. …

“Unreasonable fear cannot justify the use of deadly force. The use of deadly force must be objectively reasonable and necessary given the totality of the circumstances. Based upon our thorough and exhaustive review of the facts of this case, it is my conclusion that the use of deadly force by officer Yanez was not justified and that sufficient facts exist to prove this to be true.”