Cop Who Killed Innocent Man Shouldn’t be Charged Because Victim Was “High on Marijuana”

Dionne Cordell | Courthouse News Service

(CN) – Attorneys for the police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile in July say the manslaughter charge against him should be dropped because Castile was high on marijuana at the time of the incident.

Jeronimo Yanez and his attorneys filed a motion to dismiss Wednesday and a memo supporting the motion.

Yanez’s push to dismiss the felony manslaughter charge against him follows the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement that it will conduct a comprehensive review of the St. Anthony Police Department, which was deeply criticized nationwide over the incident.

Last month, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi charged Yanez with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm for the shooting of Castile during a traffic stop on July 6.

The immediate aftermath of the shooting was live-streamed by Diamond Reynolds, who was a passenger in the car along with her 4-year-old daughter in the backseat.

The shooting spawned protests at the governor’s mansion and other parts of the country, including a demonstration in Oakland, Calif., that shut down an interstate for hours.

According to Yanez’s memo, Castile lied on his application for a permit to carry a firearm and denied that he used any controlled substance.

“This is critical because unlawful narcotic users are not eligible to own, let alone carry a firearm on their person,” according to his attorneys, led by Earl Gray of St. Paul.

Photographs of marijuana were discovered on Castile’s Instagram account from 2012, the memo states, and Castile was issued three marijuana-in-vehicle tickets in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

Yanez’s attorneys also say blood draws from Castile revealed high levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

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