June 16, 2017 05:08 PM
After deliberating for more than 29 hours, the jury has found Jeronimo Yanez not guilty on all counts.
The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on one count of manslaughter in the second degree in the shooting death of Philando Castile.
The jury also found Yanez not guilty on the first count reckless discharge of a firearm, and not guilty on the second count of reckless discharge of a firearm.
Before reading the verdict, Judge William H. Leary asked the jurors if they had read any media reports on Tuesday or Wednesday about the Yanez transcript from his interview with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and his decision to deny the jury's request.
He also questioned if any jurors had discussed the case with outside parties or observed any media reports; jurors answered no to both questions.
Inside the courtroom, the mood was tense as the judgeread the verdict. At the conclusion of his reading, Castile's family members stood up and began to walk out, many of his family members and supporters were crying.
Valerie Castile, Philando's mother, yelled an expletive as she left the courtroom. Another unidentified family member muttered that "seven shots were fired" under her breath as she left the courtroom.
After the verdict was read, Yanez's lawyer Earl Gray told KSTP, "It was the right decision. It was a fair decision."
He added, "We're happy jury went our way. ... The vedict was correct, and the jury worked hard. ... He should have never been charged."
Tom Kelly, another lawyer for Yanez added, "It was a tragedy all around. ... A fair trial."
"We are sorry for their loss," he added.
Valerie Castile made a passionate statement outside of the courthouse saying, "I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota. ... The city killed my son, and a murderer gets away. Are you kidding me?!"
She continued, "I am mad as hell right now. ... Just because he was a police officer that makes it OK?"
Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, issued the following statement:
I am incredibly disappointed with the jury's verdict. My boyfriend, Philando Castile, was pulled over because, per Officer Yanez, he had a wide nose and looked like a suspect. He did nothing but comply with Officer YANEZ's insturctions to get his driver's license. He was seatbelted and doing as he was told, when he was shot by Officer YANEZ who fired 7 shots into the vehicle where my 4 y/o daughter and I also sat. It is a sad state of affairs when this type of criminal conduct is condoned simply because Yanez is a policeman. God help America.
Yanez family members were seen hugging one another, and Yanez's mother hugged his attorney, Earl Gray, after the verdict. Yanez family and attorneys were escorted out a separate door.
Ramsey County said it will not release the dash cam video from Yanez's car this week.
The city of St. Anthony announced shortly after the verdict was returned that Yanez will no longer serve the city as a police officer.
"The city intends to offer Officer Yanez a voluntary separation agreement to help him transition into another career other than being a St. Anthony officer," the statement read.
Castile was 32-years-old when he was shot and killed by Yanez in a traffic stop around 9 p.m on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights. He worked as a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul, and lived in Robbinsdale.
The shooting prompted widespread protests after word of the incident spread quickly on social media. Castile's girlfriend, Reynolds, live-streamed the incident after he was shot on Facebook live.
Erik Altmann and Theresa Malloy
Updated: June 16, 2017 05:08 PM
Created: June 16, 2017 02:58 PM
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