A Minnesota police officer was cleared Friday in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a Black motorist whose death captured national attention when his girlfriend streamed the grim aftermath on Facebook.
Castile’s family stormed out of the courtroom after the verdict was read, and the city of St. Anthony swiftly announced plans to dismiss Officer Jeronimo Yanez, despite his acquittal. Yanez was charged with manslaughter in the death of Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, during a July 6 traffic stop that turned deadly seconds after Castile alerted the officer that he was carrying a gun. Castile had a permit for the weapon.
“The fact in this matter is that my son was murdered, and I’ll continue to say murdered, because where in this planet (can you) tell the truth, and you be honest, and you still be murdered by the police of Minnesota,” his mother, Valerie Castile, said, referring to the fact that her son was shot after he volunteered to Yanez, “Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me.”
“He didn’t deserve to die the way he did,” Philando Castile’s sister, Allysza, said, through tears. “I will never have faith in the system.”
A few hundred people gathered Friday evening at the nearby state Capitol to protest the verdict. The mixed-race crowd, including many people with children, carried signs that read “Unite for Philando” and “Corrupt systems only corrupt.”
John Thompson, who worked with Castile in St. Paul’s public schools, stirred the crowd with profanity-laden remarks screamed into a microphone.