jh-siesta.com January 19, 2018

Another police shooting acquittal worries black gun owners

18 June 2017, 01:24 | Ignacio Ramos

Protests erupted in Minnesota Friday after a local twin cities police officer was found not guilty in a controversial shooting death past year.

Prosecutors in St. Paul, Minnesota, said recordings from the vehicle - both from Reynolds' phone and from a dashboard camera - showed that Castile was courteous and non-threatening, and they told the court there was no justification for Yanez' action. Castile had a permit for the weapon.

Yanez, who is Latino, was charged with second-degree manslaughter. Two holdouts eventually agreed after five days. After the verdict was read Friday afternoon, the city of St. Anthony swiftly announced plans to dismiss Yanez, despite his acquittal.

City officials in St. Anthony said they would offer Yanez a "voluntary separation" because they had concluded "the public will be best served" if he is no longer an officer there.

The protesters gathered at the Minnesota state Capitol in St. Paul, holding "Black Lives Matter" signs and chanting "No Justice, No Peace!"

But as darkness fell, a smaller crowd splintered off from the march and walked down an entrance ramp to block Interstate 94.

St. Paul police estimated over 2,000 people attended the protest march, which was overall peaceful.

At around 10:24 p.m., protesters moved onto I-94 without any initial police presence, but police arrived nearly immediately after to redirect traffic further down the highway.

Police officers arrested 18 people - including a Minnesota Daily editor, David Clarey, who was filming the protest and City Pages reporter Susan Du - for failing to leave the freeway. "I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota".

The footage sparked protests across the United States and further exposed tensions between U.S. police and African Americans.

The case drew national attention as Castile's girlfriend, a passenger in the auto, livestreamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.

Castile was one of 1,092 people killed by police in 2016, according to Teresa Nelson, interim executive direction of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota.

Yanez shot Castile seven times after he pulled him over for a broken tail light.

The video footage of the aftermath of the shooting taken by Castile's girlfriend had shaped many public perceptions of the fatal shooting before the trial.

Friday's acquittal prompted swearing from Castile's family members.

"They got free rein to keep killing us anyway they want", Valerie Castile said Friday night as protesters took to the streets of St. Paul, shutting down a freeway, after a Minnesota officer was acquitted in the killing of her son, Philando Castile, the Star Tribune reports.

Taylor, whose four-year-old daughter was in the backseat, said Castile told the officer: "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me". Reynolds said he was reaching for his wallet. It is a sad state of affairs when this type of criminal conduct is condoned simply because Officer Yanez is a policeman.

Organizers of Friday's protest said that the verdict "shows how the system is rigged against justice for victims of police terror".

Yanez's defense lawyers pointed to Castile's previous drug use when arguing their case. The school district said grief counselors will be available to speak to students and staff.

Meanwhile, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman described Castile as a "son of Saint Paul".

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