Minnesota officer says motorist had hand on gun when shot

Tomas Mccoy
June 10, 2017

The St. Anthony police officer faces one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of unsafe discharge of a weapon in connection with fatally shooting Castile, a black motorist, during a traffic stop July 6 in Falcon Heights.

Yanez's voice began to cracking and he started crying.

Prosecutors have argued that Yanez could have taken lesser steps when Castile told him he was carrying a gun, such as asking to see Castile's hands or asking where the gun was. "It was total disregard for my commands". Castile's family, including his mother, were also present.

"I believe wholeheartedly he saw that gun", Dutton said.

The charge against the officer requires prosecutors to show Yanez acted recklessly and unreasonably given the situation.

"It was when (Castile) did reach... and apparently pulled (a gun) out, that this happened", Kaphelson said.

When Castile said, "Sir, I have to tell you I have a firearm", Yanez was looking at Castile's insurance card.

On Friday, the St. Anthony police officer testified that he had been on the lookout for two suspects who had robbed a gas station four days prior. The defense claims that Yanez saw Castile's hand on the weapon. "Why did he have to reach for it?"

About 100 people are packed into the courtroom Friday, including 40 family members, 24 reporters and eight attorneys.

Erdman also gave a ride to Yanez after his BCA interview.

Yanez said he felt he had no choice but to shoot.

Yanez is expected to testify in his own defense and could take the stand sometime Friday.

Kapelsohn agreed, but said nerves weren't the reason Yanez shot.


Defense attorneys then proceeded to play a squad cam video of Olson giving $40 to Reynolds after Reynolds told him that she and her daughter were hungry and did not have food. The wallet, with Castile's driver's license and gun permit, was found in a pocket at the hospital, but medical staff couldn't specify which one.

Earlier this week, Reynolds had testified that she did not receive any money from Olson.

When asked to explain the recording, Yanez told the jury, "What I meant by that was I didn't know where the gun was up until I saw it in his right thigh area", according to the Associated Press.

In addition to Yanez and Kauser, Reynolds, various law enforcement officials who responded to the shooting and experts on use of force and toxicology testified during the week of testimony.

The aftermath of the shooting was streamed live on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend and the video went viral, sparking protests nationwide and renewing criticism of the use of deadly force by police, especially against African-American men.

He holds degrees from Yale University and Harvard Law School and certification as a firearms instructor for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Rifle Association.

Joseph Dutton testified Thursday for the defense.

The incident was one of several similar shootings last summer: On July 5, Alton Sterling was shot and killed outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by police responding to a report of a man with a gun.

He said he also visited the crime scene during the day and evening to get a better understanding of the lighting conditions Yanez would have experienced. "He'd be remiss in not doing so", Kapelsohn said. He placed the same Diamondback gun in a holster inside the shorts.

Dutton said Yanez proceeded to exercise sound judgment when he pulled Castile over to further investigate his identity after determining the driver had a broken taillight.

Paulsen also said it was curious Kapelsohn opted to leave out Yanez's initial statement on the scene about not knowing where the gun was from his report, as well as any mention that Castile was wearing a seatbelt during the incident.

Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled for Monday. After Castile told the officer he had the gun, Yanez told Castile, "OK, don't reach for it then", and, "Don't pull it out" - a response Kapelsohn described as "moderate".

Kapelsohn said tests he conducted showed it would take three-tenths of a second to draw a gun like Castile's from a holster in the pocket of shorts like Castile was wearing.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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