ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) After days of deliberation, a jury has found Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last summer, not guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the cafeteria workers death.
Four days after attorneys made closing arguments, a jury decided Friday that the 29-year-old police officer was not guilty of culpable negligence in Castiles death. The officer wouldve faced up to a decade in prison.
He was also found not guilty of two counts of endangerment by intentionally shooting a firearm, one count relating to Castilles girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, and the other pertaining to her child, who was sitting in the back seat.
Yanez, who is Latino, shot Castile five times last July during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. The shooting happened just seconds after Castile, 32, informed the officer that he had a gun, which he had a permit to carry.
In closing arguments Monday, prosecutors argued that Yanez never saw Castiles gun and should not have shot him even if he had.
The defense, on the other hand, maintained that Yanez acted in self-defense and argued that the shooting wouldnt have happened if Castile wasnt high on marijuana.
The July 6 shooting gained national attention after Reynolds live-streamed the bloody aftermath on Facebook, prompting protests in the Twin Cities and beyond.
During deliberations Tuesday, the jury asked to watch Reynolds Facebook live-stream, as well as squad car video of the shooting. Both were played.
On Wednesday, just after 9 a.m., the judge called court into session because the jury had noticed two evidence bags had become partially unsealed. Those bags contained the shorts and holster Castile was wearing the night of the shooting, considered a biohazard because they had been covered in blood. Those bags were sealed and given back to the jury so they could continue deliberations.
Later Wednesday, the jury appeared to have hit an impasse. Judge William Leary read his deliberation instructions, telling them not to surrender their honest opinion.
The 12-member jury included two black people, and the remainder were white.