Last July, 32-year-old Philando Castile bled out in his car after being shot by Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, recorded the brutality as her four-year-old daughter sat in the backseat. Yanez was charged with second degree manslaughter in November, and today, in court, he pleaded “not guilty.”
“That’s his right, to plead not guilty,” John Thompson tells CNN. Thompson and Castile were friends. “It is what it is, we want everything to be fair and just.”
Yanez stopped Castile for a broken tail light but, after asking for his license and registration, shot him four times as he was reaching for them. Castile had told Yanez that he was in legal possession of a firearm. Reynolds began streaming the incident on Facebook Live after Castile had been shot for the fourth time.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi asserts that “the mere presence of a firearm alone cannot justify use of deadly force.” But Yanez has told investigators that he had “no option” but to shoot; he thought Castile was holding, or reaching for, the gun. On the livestream, Reynolds can be heard explaining, “You told him to get his I.D., sir. His driver’s license.”
CNN reports that Yanez returns to court on April 4 for a hearing on trial motions. His trial date is set for May 30. He is not currently being held in custody.
You can watch the video below for more background on the Philando Castile shooting, but be forewarned that the news segment includes a graphic clip from Reynolds’s livestream.