The Castile Verdict

The Castile Verdict

Philando Castile was a 32-year-old man who worked in a high school in Minnesota. He was shot on the 6th of July 2016 by a police officer (Jeronimo Yanez) while in the car with his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter. The incident became very popular because his girlfriend live-streamed the event on Facebook.

The live-streamed video showed her interacting with the police officer while Castile was slumped over, bleeding next to her. According to her testimony, Castile was polite while speaking to the officer, he mentioned that he had a licensed firearm. The police officer shot him while he reached for his identification. He shot at Castile 7 times claiming he felt his life was in danger.

Philando Castile had never been to prison and from his records was a law abiding citizen. The children he worked with described him as a gentleman. He had however been stopped 52 times by the police like most black men in America.

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The incident sparked protests all through America. There were a lot of posts on social media with the hashtag Black Lives Matter. The Black Lives Matter activists condemned the acts of violence. President Obama and Governor Dayton were some of the political leaders who also condemned the act of violence.

Jeronimo Yanez was charged with one degree of second-degree manslaughter and 2 counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm on the 16th of November 2016. According to The Guardian, he was recently acquitted of manslaughter and cleared of 2 lesser charges after jurors deliberated for 29 hours over 5 days.  The defence argued that Castile was high on Marijuana and this affected his actions. Castile’s family was outraged by the verdict and his mother insists on the fact that her son was murdered. His sister said “he did not deserve to die the way he did. I will never have faith in the system”.

A lot of African Americans are outraged because many black people are killed by the police yearly without the police facing heavy repercussions.

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