There’s a reason the hashtag #PhilandoCastile is trending on Twitter, and Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s name is getting attention as well. Officer Yanez was the police officer seen in a viral Facebook Live video after he shot and killed Philando Castile. However, Officer Yanez has been acquitted on all counts on Friday, June 16.
As reported by Newser, Jeronimo was a Minnesota police officer who shot Philando five to seven times after stopping Castile and his girlfriend in a traffic stop that led to murder. Officer Yanez killed Castile in July, however, the second-degree manslaughter and lesser charges that the Minnesota police officer faced didn’t stick when he was acquitted of all charges.
Protests occurred in the wake of the traffic stop gone viral from suburban St. Paul this past summer, with Officer Jeronimo, a Latino police officer, being at the center of the debate over whether he correctly used deadly force. The incident happened on July 6, 2016, and massive demonstrations resulted when protesters who felt Officer Jeronimo should not have used such deadly force took to the streets to voice their opinions.
According to the following tweet from NPR, the jury hearing the case of Officer Yanez took five days to deliberate.
Yanez was reportedly told that Castile had a license to carry a gun, with the officer claiming that Philando began to take the gun out to show him against Yanez’s directions. However, prosecutors in the case declared that Yanez did not see Castile’s gun and that Philando was not a threat to the officer. As reported by Newser, Philando’s case gained plenty of attention due to Castile’s girlfriend immediately streaming the aftermath of the shooting tragedy to Facebook Live.
Diamond Reynolds, Philando’s girlfriend, explained in the video that Officer Yanez had stopped Diamond and Castile for what Jeronimo claimed was a broken taillight. Other theories have floated in the aftermath of the shooting, with the couple not allegedly having a broken taillight after all; instead, they may have been the victims of profiling due to cops looking for theft suspects in the area.
Yanez reportedly stopped Castile because he fit the racial profile of a robbery suspect who had a “wide nose,” as reported by the Washington Post. As reported by the New York Times, Castile had been stopped by police 52 times in 14 years. Therefore, Philando’s 53rd traffic stop ended with his death streamed live for the world to see.
As Castile bled to death in the car and a young child in the back seat attempted to comfort her mother, the video showed Yanez with his gun drawn, yelling.
[Featured Image by Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office/AP Images]