WATCH: One Year On, Prosecutor Discusses Cop’s ‘Unreasonable Panic’ in Castile Killing

Philando Castile, left, and Jeronimo Yanez

After Philando Castile was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights nearly a year and a half ago, it seemed like nearly everyone wanted to weigh in on what should happen next.

Calls for the officer to be charged came swiftly. Many in the community believed St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez recklessly killed the 32-year-old black man while Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old child looked on.

Others came to the defense of Yanez and other police officers tasked with making split-second, life-and-death decisions.

Their opinions weren’t the ones that counted, though. The decision rested with Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

In November of last year, Choi made history when he became the first county attorney in Minnesota’s modern history to bring criminal charges against a police officer involved in an on-duty fatal shooting.

Choi charged Yanez with one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm for endangering the lives of Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and Reynolds’ daughter.

Philando Castile, left, and Jeronimo YanezPhilando Castile, left, and Jeronimo Yanez
Reynolds live-streamed the shooting’s immediate aftermath on Facebook, capturing worldwide attention when the footage when viral.

In June, a Ramsey County District Court jury acquitted Yanez on all the charges after the officer testified that he saw Castile gripping a gun despite commands not to do so.

A national dialogue about police use-of-force, particularly against people of color, continues.

Twin Cities residents are awaiting Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s decision on an officer-involved fatal shooting of an unarmed Minneapolis woman last July.

Just this Friday, Choi declined to charge officers involved in the fatal shooting of Cordale Handy, a black man, in St. Paul last March.

Choi agreed to an interview with the Pioneer Press to reflect on how and why he arrived at charges in the Castile shooting — a case he knows will define his career.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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