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Officer who killed black motorist to take the stand Friday

12 Juin 2017

A Minnesota police officer accused of fatally shooting a black man last summer broke down on the stand today, saying, "I thought I was going to die", according to ABC affiliate KSTP-TV. "My family was popping up in my head. My wife. My baby girl", he said. Yanez had pulled the 32-year-old cafeteria worker over because of a faulty brake light.

When he told Castile not to reach for his weapon, Yanez said, "I was able to see his right hand, it was in a C-shape".

Prosecutor Rick Dusterhoft asked Yanez about a statement to investigators that he saw the barrel of the gun before he fired. "I can reach in with a couple fingers and pull the gun out right now", Kapelsohn told the jury. "I had no other choice. Those were not my intentions".

Kapelsohn testified Friday for the defense.

He also purchased the same dark pair of Ralph Lauren shorts worn by Castile during the shooting.

The defense has rested in the trial of a Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter in the death of a black motorist. Moments after approaching the vehicle, Yanez fired seven shots, striking Castile five times.

The shooting became known across the nation because the aftermath was streamed live on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend.

Her video went viral, sparking protests both locally and nationally about police use of force, particularly against black men.

Yanez says he thought Castile looked like one of the robbery suspects. He said the driver "looks more like one of our suspects just because of the wide-set nose, ' according to audio of the radio transmission".

On July 6, 2016, Yanez pulled over Castile who is in a auto with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter.

He testified Thursday that Yanez followed protocol when he radioed his police partner in another squad vehicle to tell him about a driver who resembled a suspect in a recent armed robbery. He then asked to his see driver's license and proof of insurance. Elliot Erdman, a fellow officer who described Yanez as a close friend, testified that Yanez told him about the misstatement the day after the shooting.

"I did not want to shoot Mr. Castile at all".

Yanez, 29, has been charged with one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of unsafe discharge of a firearm. Yanez told the jury he had instructed Castile to not reach for his weapon, but his demands were ignored. The charge against Yanez requires prosecutors to prove the officer acted recklessly and unreasonably given the situation. However, that portion of the video wasn't played.

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Yanez said he meant to say he saw the top of the gun's slide rather than the barrel.

On Friday, prosecutors tried to poke holes in the statements Yanez gave in the hours after the July 6 shooting.

"I was forced to engage Mr. Castile", he said.

Yanez explained to jurors that Castile did not make eye contact and was "mumbling" and "talking forward" and "wanted to do what he wanted to do".

The defense maintains that Castile was reaching for his gun despite Yanez's repeated commands not to. "You appear to be unsure of what you saw'". The use of force expert left no doubt about his take on the decision to use lethal force.

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"I'm not sure", Yanez replied before repeating that his statement was given shortly after experiencing a traumatic incident.

The Minnesota police officer on trial for the murder of a black motorist during a traffic stop previous year, the aftermath of which was streamed on social media by the driver's girlfriend, is expected to say on Friday that he feared for his life. A key issue in the case is whether Yanez saw the gun.

Defense attorneys argue that Yanez responded appropriately to the threat of a gun and in fear of his life.

Various toxicology experts called by the state and defense differed on whether postmortem blood samples can accurately indicate recent marijuana use.

Yanez testified Friday that he told Castile not to reach for his gun and Castile continued to pull it out of his pocket.

The shooting in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights during a traffic stop, like similar incidents across the United States, fueled public debate about appropriate use of force by law enforcement against minorities. He had a permit to carry a firearm in his wallet; his girlfriend, sitting next to him, said he had been reaching for his ID in his back pocket when he was shot. Castile had a permit for his gun, and prosecutors have sought to portray him as being cooperative when he volunteered to Yanez, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me". The defense then called an expert who testified that Yanez justifiably used deadly force when he shot Castile.

"It changes the dynamic of the traffic stop", Yanez responded.

Officer who killed black motorist to take the stand Friday