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Philando Castile Shooting: Dashcam Video Shows Rapid Event

What’s most shocking is how fast it happened.

It took just 40 seconds for an ordinary traffic stop to turn deadly — from a police officer saying, “Hello, sir,” to him firing seven shots at a seated motorist.

But the police dashboard camera video released Tuesday adds a visceral element to what police witnesses had described — unnerving even in the context of other police shootings and after a video taken by Philando Castile’s passenger went viral.

Until Tuesday, few people had seen the dashcam video from July 6 when Officer Jeronimo Yanez killed Castile in Minnesota. It was shown in court during Yanez’s trial.

He was acquitted Friday of one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety. Yanez testified he feared for his life because he believed Castile was pulling his own gun from his pocket. But prosecutors said Yanez was too quick to pull the trigger.

How the shooting unfolds

The nearly 10-minute video shows Yanez pulling over Castile on a wide street on a clear summer evening. Yanez approaches the white 1997 Oldsmobile and leans in to speak through the driver’s window. Another officer approaches but stands farther away on the passenger side.

Yanez tells Castile his brake lights are out.

The video does not show Yanez’s point of view or the inside of Castile’s car, where his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter were passengers.

Yanez asks for Castile’s driver’s license and insurance.

Thirty seconds into the conversation, Castile begins to tell Yanez that he has a weapon.

Castile: Sir, I have to tell you I do have a …

Yanez: OK.

Castile: … firearm on me.

Yanez: OK

Castile: I (inaudible)

Yanez: Don’t reach for it then.

Castile: I’m, I, I was reaching for …

Yanez: Don’t pull it out.

Castile: I’m not pulling it out.

Reynolds: He’s not.

Yanez: Don’t pull it out.

Yanez, whose hand had been near his gun, pulls out his weapon and fires seven rapid shots into the car, striking Castile five times.

Reynolds: You just killed my boyfriend.

Castile: I wasn’t reaching …

Reynolds: He wasn’t reaching.

Yanez: Don’t pull it out!

Reynolds: He wasn’t.

Yanez: Don’t move! (Expletive.)

Yanez is then heard shouting obscenities and breathing heavily as the tape continues.

The child exits the car amid the chaos, and the other officer picks her up.

Reynolds begins sharing a live video on Facebook, narrating in calm tones. She is told to exit the car and walk backward to an officer.

Officers are seen removing Castile from the car, placing him on the street, and treating him.

Others interview Yanez, who shouts obscenities repeatedly.

“I’m (expletive) up right now,” Yanez says at one point.

Yanez: I told him (sigh) ‘Can I see your license?’ And then he told me he had a firearm. I told him not to reach for it. And when he went down to grab, I told him not to reach for it. And then he kept it right there, and I told him to take his hand off of it. And then he, he had his grip a lot wider than a wallet.

Other officer: OK.

Yanez: And I don’t know where the gun was, he didn’t tell me where the (expletive) gun was.

Other officer: OK.

Yanez: And then it was just, getting hinky, he gave, he was just staring straight ahead and I was getting (expletive) nervous and then, I told him, I know, I know, (expletive) I told him to get his (expletive) hand off his gun.

Yanez gives a brief explanation of the events to a supervising officer on the scene. Yanez says he told Castile not to reach for the gun and that Castile’s “grip (was) a lot wider than a wallet.” Yanez continues, saying, “I don’t know where the gun was. He didn’t tell me where the (expletive) gun was.”

Prosecutors: Yanez lost control

During the trial, prosecutors portrayed Yanez as a nervous officer who lost control of his traffic stop. He was too quick to pull the trigger after learning Castile had a gun, based on an unreasonable suspicion that he was a robbery suspect, they said.

Yanez, then a St. Anthony officer, testified Castile put his hand on his firearm, not his wallet or identification papers, and was pulling the gun from his pocket.

“I didn’t want to shoot Mr. Castile,” Yanez testified. “That wasn’t my intention. I thought I was going to die.”

Castile’s fully loaded gun was found in his shorts pocket, Ramsey County prosecutors said.

Next-day interview

The day after the shooting, two officers from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension interviewed Yanez, who was accompanied by two lawyers. Yanez said he had not watched the dashcam video at that point.

According to the transcript, Yanez said he wasn’t sure what Castile had in his hand but thought it was a gun.

Castile reached his right hand toward his pocket or the car console, which is where people usually carry firearms, and had his hand into a C-shape, as if to put his fingers around the butt of a gun, he said.

“I know he had an object and it was dark. And he was pulling it out with his right hand,” he said.

Everything happened very fast, Yanez said.

“It seemed like it was (a) split second from the time he told me (about having a gun), to the time he was reaching down, to the time I gave him direction, to the time he had his hand wrapped around it and then I gave him more direction and shots were fired,” he said.

The officer said he “had no other option” except to shoot.

Yanez said he smelled burnt marijuana as he approached the car, which he mentions when explaining his reasons for shooting.

“I thought … if he has … the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the 5-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me,” Yanez said.

He said he’d made hundreds of traffic stops in which the drivers informed him they were carrying firearms.

Those stops ended safely “100 percent of the time” because the drivers kept their hands in view and told him when they were reaching for their wallets or other objects, he said.

Other key points

In the police dashcam video, Joseph Kauser, an officer who arrived to provide backup, stood on the right side of Castile’s car with his thumbs hooked in a casual position on the inner armpit area of his bullet resistant vest.

He testified in St. Paul that he didn’t see a gun inside the car and didn’t hear most of the conversation between Yanez and Castile, who appeared calm and relaxed. Kauser said he was surprised when Yanez started shooting.

At trial, radio calls showed Yanez said he was going to stop a car to check IDs because two occupants look like armed robbery suspects. He says, “Driver looks more like one of our suspects just cause of the wide-set nose. … I couldn’t get a look at the other passenger, and I’ll wait for you.”

Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend who was in the passenger seat, said Castile was reaching for his driver’s license and registration, not the gun.

Her Facebook livestream captured Yanez yelling, “I told him not to reach for it!” and a bleeding Castile saying, “I wasn’t reaching.”

The Facebook video, which did not include the shooting, also was shown in court. It includes a portion of the same events as the dashcam video, but the view is from inside the car. Yanez’s weapon is seen pointing toward the bloodied Castile. “You told him to get his ID, sir, and his driver’s license. Oh my God, please don’t tell me he’s dead.”

When Reynolds is outside of the car, the audio can be heard as the video shows telephone or electrical wires across the blue sky.

“They threw my phone, Facebook,” she said. “Please, Jesus, no,” she is heard wailing. “Please no, don’t let him be gone, Lord.”

Protests, disbelief after acquittal

The jury heard two weeks of testimony and deliberated 4½ days before finding Yanez not guilty.

The verdict was met by protests Friday.

Glenda Hatchett, an attorney for Castile’s family, said Wednesday she’s still stunned by the verdict.

“He’s not a fleeing felon,” she said on CNN’s “New Day.” “He’s not combative with the police, he’s doing everything that he’s been asked to, but yet he still loses his life.”

In a commentary Saturday, CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson asked, “How did a jury not see what the rest of the world did? And why does, and how could, this continue to happen? Will there ever be accountability?”

One juror, Dennis Ploussard, spoke to the media, saying the jury didn’t take its duties lightly and carefully considered the evidence. For much of the 27 hours of deliberation, all but two jurors were in favor of acquittal.

According to CNN affiliate WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, Ploussard said that when jurors came to understand the definition of “culpable negligence,” they decided Yanez had acted as any other officer would.

The St. Anthony Police Department said shortly after the verdict that Yanez would no longer be with the police force.

 

 

18 comments

    • Derek

      Thanks, it wasn’t very hard…
      Hypocrisy has no legs to stand on, and no arms to strike with.
      But hey, at least the poor guy got alot of likes to his warped comments…ahhh the beauty of the internet….lol.

  • Derek

    It’s incredible when you see hypothetical dipshits try and defend this kind of behavior, and find reasons to justify this disgusting example of inequity. The question to ask them is, if it were a friend or family member, who had the exact same set of events happen to them…would they still excuse the officer, pumping round after round into their flesh, like they aren’t a human being (with a woman and child in the car!)?
    Of course not… it’s only ok because he’s a black man and thus has to bend over backwards to reassure and put at ease a skiddish, nervous, cowardly cop, who obviously should’ve never been hired in the 1st place. But karma is a B and I hope the guilt of killing an innocent man in front of a young child destroys him slowly.
    Manslaughter and child endangerment at best.
    Cold Blooded murder at worst.

    • typical bleeding heart liberal dope

      what part of “don’t reach for it (gun)” do you fail to comprehend?

  • Better Pay for Better Police

    If you’re going to be a police officer you need to have a bit more composure. You don’t empty your clip on a guy before seeing a gun. The guy tried to do the right thing by preemptively disclosing he had a gun and was killed for his effort.
    There are many, many quality officers out there, but if you want the public to completely respect the police, get rid of the ones that don’t belong in uniform.

  • Tjkat

    This is a awful. That policeman should have been found guilty. The poor guy told him he had a gun in him, he was honest!! The cop did not give him a chance. The cop over reacted and killed him. What is with the justice system!! Juries don’t very it. So sad. Hope his family she’s big time!!!

  • Andrew Nelson

    This is manslaughter, at a minimum. Totally un-necessary to shoot this man in this circumstance. No excuse for it, at all. This ‘officer’ should go to jail for five years or more, even if we accept that it was just a ‘bad mistake’, which I do not buy. A total disgrace.

    • Choppy (@choppinfirewood)

      We have no idea what he was reaching for. Maybe his wallet, maybe not. You follow commands. You are told to stop doing something, you stop doing something. He was told a couple times before the officer upholstered his gun-apparently he didn’t listen. A shooting of an officer can happen just as quickly. It’s not like shooting an officer is a 10 second event. It happens in a split second. Is the officer supposed to wait until a gun is pointing at him to fire? Not saying this was right or wrong (the jury decided that) but this might have been avoided had the passenger kept his hands still. It’s a shame either way.

    • dopes

      The jury felt differently: “Juror Dennis Ploussard told the Associated Press that early in jury’s deliberations, the panel of 12 was split 10-2 in favor of acquittal. Though he didn’t identify the two holdouts, he explained to the AP that it wasn’t the jury’s only two black members.” It’s really quite simple – listen to the officer in charge – keep both hands on the wheel. If it’s dark out – turn on all the interior lights. Turn your four-ways on, shut off the engine. Oh yeah, it helps if you’re not so stoned or drunk that you can’t understand simple commands too.

      • White Dude

        I agree with everything you said here. However, I’m surprised Yanez wasn’t convicted. I would have convicted him after the videos, transcripts, and testimonials I’ve see and I’m a white-as cracker! Yanez asked to see his driver’s license. Castille volunteers that he has a weapon as he’s reaching down to pull out his wallet/license. Both of them were being pretty stupid. Don’t reach down into unseen regions while saying you have a gun. Freeze when the officer pulls his gun on you and await further instruction. If you ask to see someone’s driver’s license, don’t freak out when they start reaching down to pull it out. Not even if they say they have a gun. Why would they tell you that if they intend to shoot you? What a mess.

      • Catastrophe

        1. Yanez said he got a whiff of weed smoke. In no other place in the story or ANY story is weed brought up, if this were true you would think that the other officer would have brought it up on examination or cross. Weed smoke just doesn’t go way.
        2. Your instructions could get somebody killed. If they reach to turn on their lights and the switch isn’t readily visible by an officer then you could get shot for “reaching” in an unknown place.
        3. How about we don’t have chicken shit cops on the force with obvious biases. According to the Yanez, Castile fit the description of a robbery suspect just because “he had a wide nose”. That is grade F detective work right there. I could see if he said hair style, piercings, tattoos, clothing, or any thing else was similar, but if all you have to go off of is a wide nose then man you should not and I repeat NOT make any assumptions. Also if Yanez had approached the situation CALMLY and given clear instructions and told Castile to keep his hands in view instead of “Don’t reach” then this situation would have turned out very differently.

        At the end of the day Castile does hold some responsibility for what happened that day but the officer (the person with power in this situation) failed miserably to control the situation and his biases and for that a person lost his life for little to no reason.

      • dopes

        1. Acknowledge the officer by turning on flashers. …
        2. Pull over to a safe area. …
        3. Stay in the car. …
        4. Turn off engine, roll down window, and turn on your dome lights.
        5. Stay calm. …
        6. Stay still and keep your hands on the steering wheel.

        Once again, if you’re not so stoned or high that you can’t do all of this before the officer walks up to the vehicle – maybe you shouldn’t be driving in the first place. You can easily turn your interior lights on long before the officer even gets out of his vehicle.

      • Megan

        Dopes, I don’t do all of those things when I’m pulled over (turning on my dome lights, keeping my hands on the steering wheel) but I’ve never had a cop draw on me. Oh wait, I’m white. You forgot to mention step 7, be white. Because Castile did seem to be to be doing everything he was told. If he’d kept his hands on the wheel, he’d have gotten in trouble for not doing what the cop said, which was go hand him his ID, which is what Castile was trying to do when the cop shot him for trying to do what the cop told him to do.

      • Derek

        That’s a very simple outlook. Glad to know you’d have such robotically, cold, logic in favor of the killing officer, if it was you or a family member who was annihilated while sitting in the passenger side of a car with a woman and child in the back. C’mon dude, you’re so obvious! Lol.
        Perhaps the officer’s intent can be debated, but not his misconduct. A jury acquittal doesn’t mean he’s right. A jury acquitted OJ Simpson and they were just as wrong. We’re sending a message to cops they can kill without consequence. This time it was just a black, nobody.. Tomorrow it might be your uncle or brother.
        And they can just wing an excuse on the way to court, against damning evidence otherwise. By your logic that’s fine as long as you “disobeyed” an order he gave, a cop can erase you from the face of the earth and remain a free man.
        What a hero this cop was….more concerned about his own safety than the child (he claims to have been concerned about) in the backseat.

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