I hadn’t seen the dashcam video of the incident in which St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop until tonight.
After having watched it several times, I can understand why there was reasonable doubt brought on chiefly (I’m guessing) by the lack of credibility of the prosecution’s star witness Diamond Reynolds.
I’m going to note several things here.
1 – Castile did inform the officer that he was armed after he had given the officer his registration. It is possible he was reaching in his pocket for his wallet, where he ostensibly kept his license, but he also knew that his license was suspended. Nonetheless, Yanez seemed pretty calm – even after being told Castile was armed. He casually said “OK, don’t reach for it, then.” There was no tension or panic in his voice.
But then things changed drastically within a couple of seconds.
Yanez casually said “Don’t pull it out.” He said it twice – the second time with more panic in his voice before pulling out his gun and firing several shots into Castile.
2 – No, Castile doesn’t appear to have been complying with Yanez’s instructions to not pull it out (although you cannot see from the video what he was trying to pull out or where he was reaching). But at the same time, this all literally happened within maybe five seconds, and I think Yanez panicked. An expert in the use of force testified the use of deadly force was “objectively unreasonable.” He escalated very quickly and put seven rounds in Castile. At 1:38 Yanez very calmly says “OK, don’t reach for it, then.” At 1:43 he’s fired his second shot into Castile I realize law enforcement officers are under a lot of stress, and Castile apparently resembled a robbery suspect, so the situation was tense. I also understand that I only am seeing the dashcam video, which leaves me with some knowledge gaps about what the officer was actually seeing.
3 – Reynolds was not a credible witness. This one is a biggie. She is facing felony assault charges in an unrelated case after she allegedly attacked someone with a hammer. While lawyers did not appear to mention said charges in court, they’re public and covered in the media. They’re not difficult to look up. She lied when she claimed police didn’t provide first aid to Castile. The video clearly shows two-three officers worked on the man for at least three minutes continuously, giving chest compressions and trying to revive him until the ambulance showed up at the very end of the video. This in and of itself probably was enough to bring reasonable doubt into the picture.
She also admitted she and Castile regularly used marijuana, and she claims she smoked that day, but he did not. That was another lie. An autopsy revealed he had THC in his system, which would explain why he appeared to barely understand Yanez’s instructions and why he was slow to respond to Yanez’s increasingly loud orders to not pull it out. And by the way, what the hell was he doing driving while stoned, and with a small child in the back seat?
4 – Yanez’s partner Joseph Kauser testified he did not see any gun, nor did he smell any burnt marijuana smell in the car, which Yanez claims he had. Kauser looked pretty calm standing there on the other side of the vehicle until his partner escalated quickly. It’s also important to note that at the 9:10 mark, Yanez doesn’t appear to have actually seen a gun either. He tells the female officer interviewing him that despite instructing Castile not to reach for it, he did and “his grip was a lot wider than a wallet.” This tells me that he was basing his assessment of the situation on the grip, rather than actually seeing a firearm.
I’ve seen some guys with wallets literally stuffed so full, they look ridiculous, and much bigger than any pistol grip, so the fact that he was pulling out something fat doesn’t mean it was necessarily a gun. Yanez’s assessment was based on the fact that Castile told him he had a firearm, had already handed him documents (probably registration and insurance), and was reaching for something (ostensibly an ID). I know I keep my registration in my glove box, and my ID in my wallet in my purse, so I would have had to reach into two separate places to get the documents Yanez demanded.
5 – Yanez was visibly shaken, borderline hysterical, and weeping. He was fighting to keep from hyperventilating, and repeatedly cried “No! Please Jesus no!” several times. That doesn’t strike me as someone who targeted Castile because of his race.
6 – Castile did not have a record of violence. His extensive record consisted of traffic violations. Yanez in a transcript of his conversation with the dispatcher was heard saying, “The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery. The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide set nose.” So it sounds like even though it was a case of mistaken identity, the officer honestly believed he may have been pulling over a robbery suspect, which also would explain why he was tense.
And finally, let me preface this by reminding you I’m not a lawyer. But I do believe the prosecution was overcharging in this case by claiming second degree manslaughter. According to Minnesota law, manslaughter in the second degree involves causing the death of another in the following means:
(1) by the person’s culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another; or
(2) by shooting another with a firearm or other dangerous weapon as a result of negligently believing the other to be a deer or other animal; or
(3) by setting a spring gun, pit fall, deadfall, snare, or other like dangerous weapon or device; or
(4) by negligently or intentionally permitting any animal, known by the person to have vicious propensities or to have caused great or substantial bodily harm in the past, to run uncontrolled off the owner’s premises, or negligently failing to keep it properly confined; or
(5) by committing or attempting to commit a violation of section 609.378 (neglect or endangerment of a child), and murder in the first, second, or third degree is not committed thereby.
Based on this statute, I don’t see how Yanez was negligent or created an unreasonable risk, or consciously took chances, causing Castile’s death.
He believed that Castile looked like a robbery suspect.
He observed behavior on the part of his suspect that seemed odd, or “hinky,” as he described it. “He was just staring straight ahead,” he said, and admitted at that point he was getting nervous.
Castile was stoned, so he wasn’t exactly following directions very well, and Yanez’s observations match that possibility.
Now, in my opinion, and judging from the video and its transcript, Yanez overreacted. He escalated from perfectly calm to putting rounds in Castile in the span of five seconds, and he wasn’t certain Castile was pulling out a gun – only that he was gripping whatever he was taking out of his pocket with a wider grip than a wallet, which is a pretty subjective measurement.
Nonetheless, the less than credible witness Diamond Reynolds proved to be, coupled with what was probably an attempt to overcharge second degree manslaughter probably wound up in a “not guilty” verdict.
There are no winners here.
Yanez was clearly traumatized and weeping after having shot Castile.
Philando Castile died, and his loved ones lost someone dear to them. For what? Yeah, he was driving stoned, and yeah, he had a long record of traffic violations. Did he deserve to die for those transgressions?
I don’t think so.
Reynolds’ little daughter is probably more than traumatized, having watched a police officer put seven rounds in someone she cared about.
Castile’s mother lost a son. I cannot begin to imagine what that feels like. I can’t imagine having to bury my child. The mere thought of the loss sends agonizing shocks through me!
I guarantee Yanez will also never live this down either. His anguished cries are ringing in my ears. His shock and horror at having shot another human being were palpable.
I also doubt he will ever work as a police officer again.
Training that could mitigate these types of situations and could possibly reduce incidents of fatal police shootings should be standard, but resource and time constraints generally limit its availability.
Much of the current training focuses on static skills and techniques that may or may not be practiced diligently by the individual officer after the annual, or if they are lucky, quarterly agency training iterations. Most often, it consists of going through the motions of rehearsed techniques without applying that training under stress, with as many variables and judgment calls at real-time speed. If done correctly, the most important outcome of that type of situational training is that the individual officer can see what works (or doesn’t) for the first time in training, and not on the street, where consequences can be severe and often permanent.
Also, “Mat room folly” is a real phenomenon. If you slow any training down enough, it will always work… it just won’t work under stress in real situations! Too often, training teaches solutions and techniques for specific problems (like a specific knife attack, tackle, weapon malfunction, door entry, etc.) and allows officers to practice until they get it “just right.” The goal seems to be to perform up to some predetermined and sometimes almost arbitrary standard. The problem is that in reality, events rarely go as planned, so why are we not applying that truth in training and bringing that concept into practice for our officers in a tangible way?
Realistic training often seems to be lacking in our police forces today. Much like in other classroom environments, the focus is on passing the exam – proficiency and qualification – rather than giving officers instinctual, developed skills to deal with stressful situations.
In this case, Officer Yanez reacted fatally, and Philando Castile lost his life.
I don’t want to draw any conclusions about this morning’s shooting in Alexandria, VA, in which Rep. Steve Scalise, Republican House Whip, was shot. I did want to mention the shooting, as well as what we know so far. CNN does have regular updates, so I’m linking to it here.
A gunman opened fire at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday, injuring Rep. Steve Scalise, a senior Republican politician, as well as others, according to Rep. Mo Brooks, who was at the practice during the attack.
A note on the report. I don’t know if Brooks just doesn’t understand firearms, or whether CNN’s reporting is dumb, or whether it’s an unfortunate combination of both, but this…
“The gun was a semiautomatic,” Brooks said. “It continued to fire at different people. You can imagine, all the people on the field scatter.”
In any case, it appears at least one Capitol Police officer was shot, and the suspect is in custody. I won’t keep updating this, but will rather do a longer post once the story is solidified.
Thoughts with everyone involved.
UPDATE: I just ran across this on my lunch 5 minutes, so I thought I’d quickly update this post. The rancid bag of stale effluvia who went on a shooting spree in Alexandria this morning has been identified as the now thankfully deceased and rotting in hell James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. His FaceBook page is awfully illuminating. He’s apparently a rabid socialist piece of shit and a Bernie Sanders supporter. His profile photo is the following graphic, and his cover photo is a picture of a grinning Bernie Sanders.
Court records also show Hodgkinson was arrested in 2006 on the suspicion of battery, domestic battery, criminal damage of property and reckless discharge of a firearm.”
The Chicago Tribune reports this violent, pro-tyranny cocksucker has a long history of being a… well… tyrannical, socialist cocksucker.
Over the years, Hodgkinson wrote more than a dozen letters to the editor of the local paper in which he supported higher taxes and advocated for Democratic candidates, such as John Kerry.
You want a civil war? Because that’s how you start a civil war, assholes. I didn’t think it would be long before the fascist dildoes of the progtarded left graduated from bottle throwing and forcibly shutting down opposing voices to shootings and murder.
Guess what, assholes! We’re way better armed and prepared than you are. You will die much like this unhinged knob-gobbler – painfully and alone and reviled by all normal people.
The owner of Dixie Gun and Pawn on Veterans Memorial Parkway in Cobb County, along with one other worker, had just opened the store when two men with ski masks and guns came in, according to investigators. Police say the owner pulled out his gun and fired, hitting one of the gunmen.
The second gunman took off in a silver Dodge Magnum and headed east down Veterans Memorial Parkway. Police are still searching for that man, and said they believe he is armed.
I wonder what kind of defective genetic material created two sub-moron cretins so stupid, they would try to rob an establishment in which the would-be victims are sure to be armed!
Someone so imbecilic, that I had to take time out from spending holiday time with family to point and laugh at the desiccated carcass of the glue-sniffing retard that was created when two idiots had drunken intercourse one night to spawn this nitwit!
DERP POTATO must have been strong with those two!
Good for the store owner! This is what I like to refer to as chlorinating the gene pool. Anyone who is stupid enough to attempt to rob a gun store, where they sell… you know… GUNS, and where the employees or owners are… you know… more than likely armed, because their establishment sells valuable merchandise that’s in high demand by savages who think they’re entitled to use violence to relieve others of their property, is much too stupid to be allowed to walk the streets without adult supervision, and probably would have throttled himself with his own shoelaces while trying to tie his shoes one fine morning in the not too distant future.
I wonder how long before the donors of the defective genetic material I mentioned above come forward and complain about how the gun store owner didn’t have to shoot their precious little boy!
The parents of an armed robber shot by a Pizza Hut employee are asking “why?”
They’re asking why their son was shot by a restaurant worker, rather than law enforcement.
They’re asking why the employee had a gun.
They’re asking why their son was shot in the head.
The answers are short and sweet.
- The reason why their son was shot by a restaurant worker rather than law enforcement is because law enforcement wasn’t on the scene.
- The reason why the employee had a gun is because vermin like their spawn exists.
- The reason he was shot in the head is because he was carrying a handgunduring the commission of a crime (edited to add) which was recovered at the scene.
Mommy dearest claims the shooting was personal because Michael Grace, Jr. was shot in the head.
Why does it matter? This scum and two of his friends walked into a restaurant armed and tried to rob the place. Period. It doesn’t matter if the shooting was personal or not. Had he not been in there waving around a pistol, the wouldn’t have been shot. Not in the leg. Not in the head. Not anywhere.
Mommy dearest claims her spawn wouldn’t have hurt anyone. The very fact that he had a gun negates that claim.
She claims he’d fallen on hard times and turned to crime to provide for his child. You know… As a kid, I remember my parents hunting through other people’s trash for clothing, furniture, and other necessities. Not once did they grab a gun and try to rob a restaurant! I wonder why that is! Perhaps because despite our financial difficulties, my parents are decent people who would never dream of committing an act of violence against another human being or taking by force what was not theirs?
What did these parents teach their spawn?
That his “rights” included treating others as prey? That he was entitled to assets that did not belong to him? That his need and “desperation” were claim checks to other people’s earnings?
Their son died as a predator. He walked into a peaceable establishment and tried to make prey out of the employees there. And unfortunately for him, one of his intended prey decided “Not today, motherfucker.”
His “rights” ended with the muzzle of his gun pointed at another human being.
Parents like these are why we can’t have nice things.