WARNING: Some viewers may find the video below upsetting.

Authorities of Ramsey County, Minnesota, released dashcam video recorded by a camera in a police vehicle that shows St. Anthony MN police officer Jeronimo Yanez shooting Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man. The shocking video shows Yanez unloading seven rapid shots at Castile on July 6, 2016. 
Yanez was cleared of manslaughter and other charges on June 16 by a jury. The dashcam video was shown to the court, but was withheld from the public. The video records events from outside of Castile’s vehicle, where his female companion, Diamond Reynolds, and baby were also. What transpired within the vehicle was not shown in the recently revealed video. Castile’s girlfriend recorded the moments after the shooting with a video that was livestreamed on Facebook, depicting Castile as he died.


Castile was stopped by Yanez for a non-functioning tail light.  
Yanez’ video, which was released on Tuesday, shows what happened in the seconds before the shooting. The video shows Yanez following Castile's car and then pulling it over. He then approaches the driver’s side and asked for a driver's license and proof of insurance. Castile gives the proof of insurance to Yanez through the driver's side window. He then says “Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me.” Castile had a permit to carry a weapon. Once Castile announced “Officer, I do have to tell you that I've got a gun,” Yanez responded by drawing his pistol and pointed it in the car. “Don't reach for it then!” Yanez shouted. There is shouting, and Yanez shouts, “Don't pull it out!”  before firing seven shots into the car. Castile's four-year-old daughter sat in the back seat.  
The dashcam video affords a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting. With the camera focused at Castile’s car, Yanez’ backup, Officer Joseph Kauser, is seen standing on the passenger side of the vehicle, jumping back and retreating when the shots were fired. Once the firing ceases, Yanez is seen standing at the car window with his gun drawn. When the girl tries to descend from the car, she was grabbed by an officer. 
Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension launched an investigation while Yanez and another officer were placed on administrative paid leave. Yanez was charged in November 2016 with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm after prosecutors claimed the use of deadly force was not justified. He turned himself in, but was later released on his own recognizance. 


Castile’s death sparked months of strife, including rallies, riots, and disruptions in Minneapolis as members of the public questioned Yanez’ motives for the shooting. Yanez is Latino, but critics of the court note that 10 of the 12 jurors were white. Reportedly, there were two holdouts in the decision to exonerate Yanez. However, officials said that the two holdouts were not the two black persons on the jury.




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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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