Police Abuse

Cop Who Killed Philando Castile Charged Wih Manslaughter, Still Employed

Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Castile after the legal gun owner informed the cop he had a firearm in the car.

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St. Anthony PD

Jeronimo Yanez, a police officer in St. Anthony, Minnesota, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of unlawful discharge of a firearm in connection to his fatal shooting of Philando Castile in July.

Castile was a lawful gun owner who informed Yanez he was carrying a weapon in the car after being pulled over in a traffic spot. Based on transcripts released by the district attorney—who decided to file charges without consulting a grand jury—it appears that Yanez escalated the situation after Castile's disclosure, ultimately shooting him seven times even though Castile appeared to never reach for or grab his gun. The aftermath of the shooting was streamed on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend, who was in the car at the time and who also tried to calm the officer down before the shooting. Yanez's partner never drew his own firearm during the entire encounter.

In announcing his decision that the shooting was unjustified and that Yanez should be charged, the district attorney ,John Choi, said it wasn't enough for an officer "to express subjective fear of death or great bodily harm" in order to justify the decision to fire at someone.

Yanez, unsurprisingly, was initially defended by his department. He was placed on administrative leave briefly, then returned to active duty before being placed on leave again in August. Yanez remains employed the police department even as he faces criminal charges for actions taken while on duty.

The pervasive mindset in police culture around the country that officers should not be terminated from their positions before the resolution of criminal charges is deeply disturbing—police officers deserve due process as all people do, but due process is a concept applied to government attempts to deprive you of life and liberty, and not to government attempts to terminate their own employees. The application of such a high standard to mere employment has helped foster an environment in which police accountability and transparency are woefully adequate. Yanez is the first officer charged in the more than 150 police killings that occurred in Minnesota since 2000.

Related from Reason TV: Cops vs. Cameras: Will Live Video Give Citizens Even More Power?

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78 responses to “Cop Who Killed Philando Castile Charged Wih Manslaughter, Still Employed

  1. Castile was a lawful gun owner who informed Yanez he was carrying a weapon in the car after being pulled over in a traffic spot. Based on transcripts released by the district attorney?who decided to file charges without consulting a grand jury?it appears that Yanez escalated the situation after Castile’s disclosure, ultimately shooting him seven times even though Castile appeared to never reach for or grab his gun.

    Fucking manslaughter? Even when by some divine miracle the cop gets charged for murdering someone, they use a watered charge that a prole would never get in a situation like this. All because of a stupid fucking costume.

    1. On the other hand, maybe he’ll actually be convicted of the lesser charge.

      1. That may well be true, but then the bullshit here is the fact that it’s so ridiculously hard to convict cops of the crime they actually committed instead of whichever lesser charge that the judicial system can stomach.

    2. Refer to the alt text.

  2. it wasn’t enough for an officer “to express subjective fear of death or great bodily harm” in order to justify the decision to fire at someone.

    Well, thank the judge for *that*.

    1. I hope that becomes precedent. That way “I was in fear for my safety” won’t be the go-to copscuse for murder.

    2. Actually, thank the county attorney. Trial has yet to be scheduled, let alone start.

  3. Ya know at this point in time it could read “Cop Who Killed Philando Castile CONVICTED of Manslaughter, Still Employed” and I wouldn’t be very surprised.

    1. What difference at this point…

    2. Thirty years from now, this cop will retire after receiving several Distinguished Service awards in long career of being a government thug.

    3. I’ll admit, conviction would surprise me.

      1. Fair enough, that part would surprise me too, but not the follow up about retaining employment.

  4. How in fuck did I not hear about this? Were there not enough black victims and white officers?

    1. reason covered this pretty extensively, although I think it was the same week that SC cop shot the other black man in the back and tried to drop his taser as a throw down.

      1. Also, Dude, I think it would be polite to verify that Officer Yanez identifies as white before throwing that sort of language around.

        1. Fuck the color he identifies as. He identifies as a blue thug.

      2. How much coverage did the MSM gave this viz-a-viz Michael Brown?

        This was a black guy carrying a firearm legally. The Left doesn’t like guns. I wouldn’t be surprised if the coverage was much lower because of that.

        It’s like with Eric Garner. It highlighted how bad proggie laws are. And the case happened in NYC.

        1. What little I heard outside of Reason was on the order of “NRA doesn’t jump to conclusions and immediately condemn this occurrence because they think 2nd Amendment doesn’t apply to blacks”

          1. Well there was an extreme amount of “he was a criminal, and reaching for his gun, and deserved it”. Some conservative blog called the wrong county to ask about his CCW, was told there wasn’t one on record, and that became ‘proof’ that he was a thug and the story was made up.

      3. That was 1-2 years ago, wasn’t it? Castile’s death was big news, but was the day after the Alton Sterling shooting and the day before the Dallas sniper shootings. So it may have been a blur for some people.

        1. Have I been hitting the hashish too hard? (rhetorical)

          I thought this shit happened this past summer?

          1. Sorry, I meant the SC murder+taser drop was 1-2 years ago. (April 2015)

            Castile and all that other shit happened this past July.

    2. I know. Heroic agent of state nearly died in an encounter with a ratfucking gun nut, and we don’t even throw him a simple parade? I bet it’s because he’s non-white.

      /sarcasm etc.

      1. The non-white thing is why he actually got charged, I reckon. Lack of privilege… no sarc…

    3. It was that garbage week in July where the Baton Rouge murder, Comey letting Hillary off, this murder and the shooting of all the Dallas police officers happened all in a few days time.

  5. I’ve said it before: don’t fire unless fired upon. Good enough for our soldiers patrolling war zones with enemy contact likely — but not good enough for cops walking the streets with civilians??

    I think this simple rule could have averted HUNDREDS of police shootings.

    Of course coward cops who put their lives before civilians doesn’t help anything.

    1. I feel like we could ALMOST trick pro-cop people into police reform with the right rhetorical slight of hand:

      “Our police officers should be held to the same esteem and standard as those who protect this nation abroad.”

      Hope they don’t realize what we mean by “standard”.

      1. Exactly. Which means they don’t get a 50 state carry permit when they leave the job. Or have the job. Or ever.

    2. This is not the ROE for soldiers.

  6. …the district attorney ,John Choi, said it wasn’t enough for an officer “to express subjective fear of death or great bodily harm” in order to justify the decision to fire at someone.

    Welp, SOMEONE’S made an enemy of every police union in the country.

    1. No shit. And something tells me DA Choi is going to find it very difficult to get the police department to cooperate with him on future cases. His conviction rate will drop, and then when the police union throws its weight behind the challenger in his next re-election campaign and he loses, it’ll be back to business as usual.

      1. Don’t hate the game, hate the corrupt public sector unions and those that pander to them.

        1. The solution to police unions is RICO.

      2. Business as usual, except Choi is gonna get a hell of a lot more moving violations.

        “I pulled you over because your brake light is out.”

        “With all due respect, no it isn’t, officer.”

        [crash] “Now it is.”

    2. Do you suppose he might commit suicide by gunshot to the back of the head?

      1. If the coroner doesn’t want to commit suicide the same way, that’s just how he’ll call it.

  7. Jeronimoooooooooooo……..

  8. Does innocent until proven guilty not apply at Reason?

    1. Does go fuck yourself with a rake not apply in jonnysagefuckyouistan?

      1. The Tulpastanis will be coming for you next, SugarFree.

        Since nobody really answered his question: of course it the presumption innocence does, but that does not justify permitting someone to retain an elevated position of power and authority. A cop’s job is not an entitlement. It is a position of public trust, and the public interest in revoking that trust in this case is clear.

        1. Also, the phrase, as applied, can be slightly misleading. Not Guilty =/= Innocent and the idea of innocent until proven guilty implies/embodies an impartial Judiciary (also making the ridiculous assumption Reason is a part of some LEO rather than just the court of public opinion). If you successfully plan to murder somebody and get the charges reduced because the DA and judge are professional friends or hold great reverence for your profession that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be charged with murder.

    2. I’d say it doesn’t apply to most of the United States : /

  9. Yanez’s partner never drew his own firearm during the entire encounter.

    Fire that coward for putting his partner in grave danger.

    1. He probably thought that Yanez would need the extra mags to empty into the scumbag’s face once he was down.

  10. I assume he’s being held pending trial, or at least had to pay a money bond in order to be released, right?

    1. Does innocent until proven guilty not apply at Reason?

    2. Released on recognisance. Blue Privilege.

  11. Looks like Tulpa’s got a new handle.

  12. In all seriousness, if a cop is charged (at least with a felony) then what is wrong with suspending him without pay? Then if found not guilty by a jury, the department can award him back pay, while if found guilty he gets none of it, and goes to jail, just like anyone else. Can’t we at least do that much?

    Of course, cops getting charged with felonies are have a frequency somewhere between actual bigfoot sightings and threesomes where both women are hot.

    1. Then if found not guilty by a jury, the department can award him back pay, while if found guilty he gets none of it, and goes to jail, just like anyone else. Can’t we at least do that much?

      Um… maybe.

      1. Seems fair.

    2. Union contract says no.

  13. And yet I still hear about Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown being evidence of racism.

  14. Once again, Mexico isn’t sending us their best people..

    And fuck, why not 2nd degree murder?

    1. Did you not read the article? The shooter was/is a cop.

      1. You shut your whore mouth. The brave hero made it home safely, and that’s what matters.

  15. woefully adequate

    You so cray, Kray.

    The alt text was good though.

  16. The intro of the voice-over is incorrect: Castile was the driver. Your video is flipped.

  17. Cop Who Killed Philando Castile Charged Wih Manslaughter, Still Employed

    Charged What in Hell Manslaughter?

    Charged Why in Heck Manslaughter?

    1. Blue Privilege. It’s that simple.

  18. The important thing is, was he able to go home to his family that night?

    Filthy fucking pigs are allowed to brutally murder US citizens in cold blood, and in the .1% of the time there’s a consequence, it’s manslaughter.

  19. That DA will never get the cooperation of the police department again, nor will he ever get a job as a DA once he is run out on a rail.

    1. I wouldn’t be so certain. Living in St. Paul, I can see it being an equal strength tussle between police union supporters and “people-of-color” activists.

      Also, Choi does not run again until 2018. By that time, Nekeima Levy-Pounds will have failed in her bid to become mayor of Minneapolis and will need a public cause to keep up her visibility. Supporting Choi (particularly if his office gets a conviction) will help with that.

    2. John Choi, may be anti-gun, but he is a good lawyer and a straight player.

  20. Charged doesn’t mean convicted, and convicted doesn’t mean a meaningful sentence.

    Most likely he will request a bench trail from a sympathetic judge, and nothing else will happen.

    1. More than likely….

  21. Speaking of St. Paul cops, it looks like body cam policies are proving to be a sticking point in the implementation of them.

    Activists are insisting that cops can’t review the footage before creating their reports. I’m sure that that leaves some room for hijinks, but I would drop my opposition in the short term in order to get the cams on the cops.

    I don’t get the high dudgeon on the activists parts.

  22. Christ on a crutch, in some states a concealed-carry holder is required to inform a police officer during a stop that he’s carrying. (Minnesota is just “if the cop asks”.) I hope the cops in those states aren’t going to just start shooting when permit holders disclose.

    1. Even if it’s legally required, why would you do this? Your odds of having an issue go through the roof once Officer Friendly is terrified, so unless there’s a reasonable chance of getting out of the car and/or your method of carrying sucks (glove compartment), why would you say a word until you’re about to cross that bridge?

      1. In many states, junyo, your status as a CHL holder is going to come up when the cop runs the plates on the vehicle. If you are listed as one of the owners, that is. Not mentioning your status may piss off the cop when he finds it out later, and starts wondering what else you’re trying to keep from him. That said, who knows what’ll piss them off these days?

        Most cops I’ve talked to don’t care that you have a CHL, as the set of CHL holders and the set of criminal shitbags they have to worry about don’t intersect. Having your weapon visible and unholstered, as IIRC, Mr. Castille did during his stop, will dramatically increase the tension of the LEO encounter, however… I’ve been stopped while carrying before. I had my hands clearly visible, handed my CHL/DL and insurance proof to the officer and answered truthfully that the weapon was in the glovebox. He told me to leave it there, and that was that.

        Not that the cop should have shot Mr. Castille, but Jesus Christ, is it that hard to get a holster for the damned thing and leave it in it? Oh, and could you possibly refrain from you or your passengers having weed on you while you’re armed and driving? That would be great.

        As far as manslaughter convictions affecting LEO future employment, this oldie-but-goodie story from OK is good to raise your blood pressure.

        1. Ah, thanks. I live in a don’t need to inform state. This also seems an awful lot like bullshit. If you tie my CHL to my DL and it’s visible on your screen, you can safely assume that I’m carrying without me telling you, or you can ask for confirmation; “I see you have a DHL. Do you have a weapon with you today Mr Ghost?” Making it the citizen’s duty to inform seems specifically designed to create cause/extra charges for zero gain to the citizens, because case in point, you can still get shot.

        2. Having a carry license does not imply that you are always carrying.

      2. Because it’s usually available to the cop as soon as he runs your DL anyway, and if he finds out you didn’t inform him, that’s a possible crime and revocation of your permit, not to mention making him even more likely to piss his pants because you didn’t respect his authoritah.

  23. Officer Yanez had attended three (3) “Warrior Cop” seminars in the priot two years. Many of them are on YouTube. Their message is you will die (lots of pieced together video clips) if you hesitate (think, look for options) to shoot.
    The mere word “gun” or the mere presence of a gun does not create “imminent” danger. The subject’s ACTIONS (including words on occasion) are the basis for reasonable perception of a threat.
    Compare this to an incident yesterday in Syracuse, NY. The officer see a gun, moves to cover, watches the ACTIONS of the subject, then shoots in legit self-defdnse.
    http://www.syracuse.com/crime/…..t-readnews

  24. The advice that you should tell the cop that you’re armed is not valid any more.I won’t until it becomes obvious he or she will find out. 99% of police killings are found to be justified,when they are certainly not.

  25. Yanez mishandled the situation very badly. He was already nervous because he was following up on someone he thought might have committed an armed robbery. Then when Castile told him he had a gun, he flipped out and didn’t do sensible things to defuse the situation, like telling Castile to put his hands on the steering wheel.
    Castile was apparently just getting out his wallet to get his driver’s license, which Yanez had asked for.
    He shouldn’t be a patrol officer again and he shouldn’t be allowed to use a gun again. He isn’t cut out to be policing the streets, and Philando Castile’s death is his fault.
    But it doesn’t seem like Yanez did anything actually criminal. There’s no good reason for him to go to prison.
    He had a dangerous, demanding job to do. Lots of people in his shoes would end up freaking out and shooting someone.
    Some people are so dangerous they have to be kept locked up, but Yanez doesn’t seem like that. He just shouldn’t be policing the streets.

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