Expert believes officer justified in shooting

Erica Roy
June 10, 2017

A prosecutor has told jurors in OH that the white former police officer who killed a black unarmed motorist should have followed his training, while the defense says the man who was killed should have followed.

Squad auto video recorded him telling a supervisor after the shooting that he did not know where the gun was, although it also recorded him saying he told Castile to take his hand off it. Witnesses testified that the gun was in a pocket of Castile's shorts when paramedics removed him from his vehicle. The 29-year-old officer stated he was scared to death and thought he was going to die.

The defense team has maintained the narrative that Yanez acting reasonably given the fact that Castile had a legally permitted gun and the officer feared for his safety. Once he saw Castile's hand on the gun, Dutton explained that de-escalating the situation was no longer an option.

"I don't have to stick my hand in the pocket", he said.

"I was immediately hit with the odor of burnt marijuana", Yanez said, describing the scene when he walked up to the vehicle.

Reynolds testified that Castile was reaching for his ID in his back pocket when he was shot.

The aftermath of the shooting was streamed live on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend and the video went viral, sparking protests nationwide and renewing criticism of the use of deadly force by police, especially against African-American men.

On Friday - three days after Reynolds took the stand - Yanez confronted jurors, his family and Castile's family in a packed courtroom and described the thoughts and emotions he experienced after pulling Castile over for a broken taillight, learning that a firearm was in the vehicle and allegedly seeing Castile reach for the gun.

YANEZ: "Okay, don't reach for it, then".

Prosecutor Rick Dusterhoft asked Yanez about a statement to investigators where he said he saw the barrel of the gun before he fired.

Erdman said Yanez was "hyper-vigilant" and initially did not cry but then eventually "broke down", saying, "That poor little girl".

Closing arguments are set for Monday.

Yanez told the jury the reasons why he stopped Castile on that July 6 night - that his description fit that of a robbery suspect, an incident he responded to on July 2.

He was hired by the defense to review all the investigative reports and video footage associated with the case before rendering his analysis on the reasonableness of Yanez's actions.

St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez stands outside the Ramsey County Courthouse while waiting for a ride on May 30, 2017, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Yanez's fate rests in the hands of a jury who will deliberate at the close of the trial.

He was one of the last witnesses called by the defense Friday and news media from across the country packed the courtroom to listen to his account of the shooting.

Yanez took off his glasses at time to wipe tears with a tissue from his eyes when describing the moment he fired the gun.

An autopsy found traces of THC, the marijuana component that gives a high, in Castile's system.

Witnesses said that the gun was in Castile's pocket when he was taken out of the vehicle.

"So are you saying (Castile) was trying to pull out the gun and shoot the officer", Paulsen finally asked.

When Castile said, "Sir, I have to tell you I have a firearm", Yanez was looking at Castile's insurance card.

Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen, on cross-examination, asserted that "the ultimate question" in the case was whether Yanez saw a gun.

Yanez is charged with manslaughter in the death last July of Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, in a St. Paul suburb. Kapelsohn said that's faster than an officer could react.

He was the second use-of-force expert to testify on behalf of the defense.

Kapelsohn said tests he conducted showed it would take three-tenths of a second to draw a gun like Castile's from a holster in the pocket of shorts like Castile was wearing.

In addition to Yanez and Kauser, Reynolds, various law enforcement officials who responded to the shooting and experts on use of force and toxicology testified during the week of testimony.

Kapelsohn said it was possible Castile didn't have his hand in or near his pocket at that point. The one who testified for the state said Yanez was negligent throughout the traffic stop.

The attorney for a Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a black motorist during a traffic stop says he plans to call his client to the witness stand Friday.

Yanez is expected to testify in his own defense and could take the stand sometime Friday.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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