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Dashcam video shows officer firing 7 shots into Castile car

Posted 9:57 p.m. Tuesday

Protesters hold an image Philando Castile and march down the street during a protest, Sunday, June 18, 2017, in St. Anthony, Minn. The protesters marched against the acquittal of Officer Jeronimo Yanez, was found not guilty of manslaughter for shooting Castile during a traffic stop. (Courtney Pedroza/Star Tribune via AP)

— The Minnesota police officer who pulled over Philando Castile politely told the driver that his brake lights were out and calmly instructed him not to pull out his handgun before suddenly drawing his own weapon and firing seven rounds into the car, a video released Tuesday showed.

The dashboard video taken from St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez's squad car illustrated how a simple traffic stop of a black man shifted in an instant from a routine exchange to a deadly confrontation.

When Yanez opened fire, another officer near the car jumped back, and Yanez began yelling at the driver. As more police and an ambulance arrived, Yanez could be heard breathing heavily and swearing and trying to explain his actions to fellow officers.

The video was made public just days after the Latino officer was acquitted on all counts in the case. Although the squad-car footage was described repeatedly and was shown to jurors in the courtroom, it had never been made public until Tuesday.

The shooting on July 6, 2016, in the Twin Cities suburb of Falcon Heights gained widespread attention because Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed its gruesome aftermath on Facebook. Unlike Reynolds' video, the squad-car video shows the situation's quick escalation and the shooting itself.

Yanez, who was found not guilty of manslaughter and other charges, began firing only seconds after Castile told the officer he had a gun.

"Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me," Castile said.

Before Castile finished that sentence, Yanez began pulling his weapon out of the holster. Yanez said, "OK. Don't reach for it then." He told the driver twice more not to pull out the weapon and then started firing into the car. After the firing ends, he screamed, "Don't pull it out!"

Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, had a permit to carry the weapon.

The release of the video made some people even angrier about the death.

Steven Belton, the black president and CEO of the Minneapolis Urban League, said the footage was "powerfully painful" and that Castile was "gunned down like a rabid animal."

Bekuh Sibet, a 29-year-old waitress from nearby Richfield, said it was obvious to her from the video that Castile was complying.

"I feel like it's 10 times worse now," said Sibet, who is white.

Craig Hutchinson, a white employment recruiter from the Minneapolis suburb of Plymouth, said in a tweet to The Associated Press that he was surprised at how quickly the situation intensified.

Hutchinson, who said he has a concealed-carry permit, also said the video left room for reasonable doubt, because it does not show where the gun was. He also said Yanez could have acted differently.

"If the officer would've exercised more caution, it may not have escalated as fast," he said.

Marcell Lenoir, a 24-year-old insurance worker from suburban Brooklyn Center, referred back to testimony that the officer thought Castile resembled a suspected armed robber.

"He already thought in his mind that this was a suspect in a robbery, and he just panicked and he messed up," said Lenoir, who is mixed race, African-American and white.

The footage shows a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting, with the camera pointed toward Castile's vehicle. It captures what was said between the two men. The video does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez saw.

Yanez testified that Castile ignored his commands not to pull out the gun.

The video shows Yanez following Castile's car, then pulling it over. Yanez can be seen approaching Castile and asking for a driver's license and proof of insurance. Castile gives the proof of insurance to Yanez through the driver's side window, and the officer puts it in his pocket.

After the first shot, Castile's body is thrown to the right. The video shows Yanez's backup officer, Joseph Kauser, standing on the passenger side of the vehicle, retreating when the shots were fired.

When the shooting stops, the video shows Yanez standing at the car window with his gun drawn for some time. Reynolds' then-4-year-old daughter starts to get out of the car and is grabbed by an officer.

Officers order Reynolds out of the car, and she gets out, hands held high. Soon, she is heard wailing.

A fellow officer speaks repeatedly to Yanez to get him away from the car: "I'm going to take your spot. I'm going to take your spot. Listen, listen, I'm going to take your spot." Yanez slowly walks away, and another officer says: "You all right? You all right? You're not hit any, are you?"

Officers pull Castile from the vehicle and begin CPR. Yanez is then off-camera, but can be heard talking through his body microphone.

Yanez, 29, is heard telling a supervisor that he didn't know where Castile's gun was, then saying that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Yanez testified, "What I meant by that was I didn't know where the gun was up until I saw it in his right thigh area."

Yanez's acquittal prompted days of protests, including one in St. Paul last Friday that attracted thousands and shut down Interstate 94 for hours. Eighteen people were arrested.

___

This story has been corrected to show that the officer began screaming after the shots were fired, not before.

18 Comments

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  • Henry Cooper Jun 21, 9:45 a.m.
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    I love the "irrelevant" tactic... easy way out while trying to discredit hard to debate points.

    I have not chosen to ignore how any race has contributed to their own image. I have been called kracker while never holding a whip but I don't blame another entire race for that. There are more active KKK members and neo nazi's than gang members but I don't see a skinhead in every white guy with a close trimmed haircut.

    You can't apply your rule to one group and not all of them but lets say you can. At what % criminality of a race is it okay to treat an entire race as violent? If the 30% of the green people are criminals can I shoot them quicker than the orange people that are only 11% criminals? We are going to throw 70% of the green people under the bus and put their lives in escalated danger?

    Citizens are not always wrong and enforcement officers are not always right, but the imbalance of power the two have is very real.

  • Ben Hill Jun 21, 9:19 a.m.
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    I didn't avoid anything, I simply ignored the irrelevant points you introduced (see Gish-Gallop).

    Unfortunately, you choose to not acknowledge a portion of black culture that is responsible for a violence stereotype (regardless of who makes money off of it- happy now?). Until people are capable of acknowledging the faults of all groups are responsible for the current problems, we'll never progress. I only have 1000 characters, so I cannot list all groups and their negative stereotypes in every comment. Feel free to use my previous comment, ignoring the one-sided view I was refuting, and use it out of context.

    The real problem is that you expect a cop to not use the basic survival instinct of pattern recognition that humans have evolved to possess simply because it might offend a group of people. Keep focusing on only one side of the problem and crying racism, that'll solve things.

  • Henry Cooper Jun 21, 8:53 a.m.
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    The more I read the more amazed I am. What prior knowledge did the officer have on Mr Castile to shot him versus the 5'5" grandma.... none.... The diff is skin color. you say race makes no diff then say this is supported by "a number of news stories" and black men are more likely to be violent.

    Would love to talk about LBGT rights with you... can't imagine what all the rest of us have missed there.

  • Henry Cooper Jun 21, 8:33 a.m.
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    You demonstrate it right here. Do you think more than 1/2 of black males are criminals? Maybe it is 3/4... oh wait you assume all black males are violent so get the gun... That is what you are saying... ONLY because he was black is the reason you have given. You are assuming likelihood of guilt of skin color and don't see it... SMH

    You just keep demonstrating you are basing an opinion on race. You are also swallowing what the media wants to feed you to develop your opinion.

  • Teddy Fowler Jun 21, 8:31 a.m.
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    I saw the video and the police officer was clearly calm when talking to Castille. Then things changed quickly when he thought that Castille was reaching for a gun. I think it's clear that the police thought he was about to be shot at. I think that point is important. It's a tragedy that should have been avoided. I don't really think that this has anything to do with racism or culture or whatever. But, that's just my opinion.

  • Pete Knowles Jun 21, 8:31 a.m.
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    Ben Hill, take a look at the last ten police shootings and tell me what race they are. You imply that it is mostly a black thing, when in reality, the last ten police shootings have been by white males. "Based on the number of news stories, which person is more likely to act aggressively and shoot a police officer?" A white male, it seems. Keep digging that hole.................

  • Henry Cooper Jun 21, 8:24 a.m.
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    100% is part of the problem also.... That means you support this doesn't it?

    "Two police officers fired after video shows handcuffed man being kicked in the head"

    http://tech.merdeka.news/news/Two-police-officers-fired-after-video-shows-handcuffed-man-being-kicked-in-the-head

  • Henry Cooper Jun 21, 8:21 a.m.
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    You avoided a lot...

    What about the "White folk" making money off the "gangsta" life that you only mentioned is glorified by black people? Why is it only came to your mind to blame a race for this (that is racism.. period).

    Do you really think an 80yo grandma in the same situation would be dead also? That is the problem the cop should not see anything but a generic citizen. They should assume no diff based on appearance but realistically that is happening.

    Our only hope is the racist to die out of our society as most of them are so programed they don't even realize it. Defend your statement with all the fodder you want but you profiled black people as the only ones glorifying gang violence... back peddling and spinning previous statement is typical.

    I will quote you again.... " why don't you touch on the topic of black culture glorifying gangster lifestyles and violence." You only say it is black culture doing this and that is so wrong.

  • Ben Hill Jun 21, 7:30 a.m.
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    Thank you for recognizing my point that the stereotypes don't include everybody that is in an ethnic/racial group. I don't beleive all black people glorify violence anymore than I buy that all white people look down on black people (as Mr. Archer implied). Hopefully when other people realize that then we can move forward in our society.

    The problem that does exist though is that how many news stories have you seen where a 5' 5" Caucasian gray haired grandmother had a gun and shot a police officer? Now how many stories where a black male had a gun and shot a police officer? Based on number of news stories, which person is more likely to act agressively and shoot at the police officer?

    We all use prior knowledge to determine how to handle a current situation. Based on the current trends, I can see why the officer felt threatened by Mr. Castile however I agree that 7 shots was excessive. The problem here was with both parties involved.

  • Eric Rothman Jun 21, 6:47 a.m.
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    This sounds terrible all around! This young man should not be dead! It sounds like the office made some really bad decisions! On the flip side, I'm not a police officer. I can only image what they area d go through on a daily basis! Just here on WRAL, every morning the headlines are filled with shootings, etc! An officer has a split second to make a decision about life or death. There is no time out, replay, etc! So while in this case, I believe a horrible decision way made by the officer and it's hard to justify, I 100% support our boys in blue!!!

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