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Black gun owners anxious by acquittal in Castile shooting

22 Juin 2017

While Leary didn't spell out the reasons for denying their request Friday to review Yanez's testimony, prominent Minnesota defense attorneys noted the jury's instructions when the trial began to listen carefully, take notes and rely on their memories.

Yanez, 29, shot Castile, 32, multiple times on July 6, 2016, seconds after the black motorist alerted the officer that he was carrying a gun, during the traffic stop.

Thousands of people gathered Friday evening at the state Capitol to protest the eventual verdict. Prosecutors argued that Yanez had overreacted and that Castile, a school cafeteria worker, was not a threat. Americans were stunned to see the video, live-streamed on Facebook, of his panicked girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, as blood spread on Castile's shirt. Judge Glenda Hatchett was hugged by Philando Castile supporter Guthrie Morgan, 7, after Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty on all counts in the shooting death of Philando Castile, Friday, June 16, 2017 in St. Pa. Yanez said Castile was reaching for the gun and didn't listen to his instructions to stop.

Yanez was also cleared of two lesser charges of endangering Castile's girlfriend Lavish Reynolds and her daughter. Reynolds livestreams the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. Saint Paul Police escorted the crowd, which they estimated to be about 2,000 people.

At the time, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton asked what so many who saw Reynolds' video were thinking: "Would this have happened if the driver were white, if the passengers were white?"

Dennis Ploussard, a member of the jury, called deliberations "very, very hard" and says he thinks the panel delivered the right verdict. Hundreds blocked the I-94 freeway past year after Castile's death was first reported. He says the shooting had nothing to do with race. A police standoff with protestors lasted over an hour and a half, at which point "the group dwindled and appeared to largely clear the interstate without police using force". Most dispersed, but troopers arrested 18. "Just because he (Yanez) was a police officer that makes it OK". Some, however, splintered off and went on I-94. Yanez was also cleared of lesser counts related to endangering Castiles girlfriend and her daughter for firing his gun into the vehicle near them. He told the jury that he didn't want to shoot Philando but that he feared for his own life.

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The protesters, who were booked at the Ramsey County Jail, face charges for being a pedestrian on the highway and other charges, Nielson said.

Minnesota State Police spokeswoman Lt. Tiffani Nielson said in a news release Saturday that officers began arresting protesters at 12:30 a.m. after issuing three warnings for them to get off of Interstate 94 in St. Paul.

Castile's death last July sparked massive protests in Minnesota and across the country. And, as in prior cases of Black men being shot and killed, the Justice Department could open an investigation into the case, as Castile's uncle has requested. Despite the acquittal, the city of St. Anthony announced that Yanez would be dismissed.

"He was compliant", Choi said. Prosecutors questioned whether Yanez had even seen it, and witnesses testified that it was in a pocket of Castiles shorts when paramedics pulled him from the auto. The announcement comes one day after the anniversary of the high-profile killing by police of another black man in Minnesota, Jamar Clark in Minneapolis. Yanez yelled, "Don't move!"

But no video existed of exactly what happened inside the vehicle.

Black gun owners anxious by acquittal in Castile shooting