Officer who shot Minnesota man reacted to gun, not race, lawyer says


The lawyer, Thomas Kelly, insists that St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot and killed school cafeteria worker Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop on Wednesday in the Minneapolis suburb of Falcon Heights, fired as a result of "the presence of that gun and the display of that gun" rather than any other factor.

Yanez and an officer who was with him, Joseph Kauser, were put on administrative leave, as is standard, authorities said.

A county prosecutor investigating the police shooting of a black motorist in Minnesota on Friday, July 8, said law enforcement authorities in his state and nationwide must improve practices and procedures to prevent future such tragedies, regardless of the outcome of his probe.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which first identified Yanez as the officer who killed Castile, as well as Officer Joseph Kauser, who was also involved in the incident, is now investigating the incident. The demonstrations protested Tuesday's shooting of Alton Sterling, whose death was captured on cellphone video.

Outside the Minnesota governor's mansion Saturday, demonstrators calling for justice in the fatal police shooting of a black driver marked a third straight day of protests.

Philando Castile had a valid permit to carry a gun when he was shot and killed by a Minnesota cop - as his fiancée said as he drew his final breaths.

The St. Anthony Police Department's 2015 annual report points to Yanez's volunteerism; he gave a tour of the station to a local Cub Scout troop and volunteered with St. Paul's Cinco De Mayo celebration, participating in a parade with other members of the National Latino Police Officers Association.

But in 2001, the Legislature asked for a racial profiling study and it fell to Kearney, then at the Institute on Race & Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School, to conduct it.

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We are working to identify this officer so we can better understand the reason he might have done this, " police Lieutenant Jonny Dunnam said in a statement.

It is not clear how Yanez was able to determine the width of Castile's nose before even pulling him over, but that is what he told a dispatcher before pulling the vehicle over, according to an audio recording that was first published on KARE 11, a Minneapolis news station that obtained the recording from a viewer.

"This had nothing to do with race and everything to do with the presence of the gun that Mr. Castile had", Kelly says.

"America's 13 million citizens who are licensed to carry deserve to know exactly what happened and why", Alan Gottlieb, the group's founder, said in a statement on Thursday. Hours earlier, some of Castile's relatives, including a sister who said she considered him a father figure, addressed the protesters and spoke of their grief.

The story made headline news after Reynolds live streamed the aftermath of the shooting on social media site Facebook. Castile was shot and killed after a traffic stop by police in Falcon Heights.

"You shot four bullets into him, sir".

"I still have faith in police officers", Schommer said, adding he still wants to become an officer and that their deaths serve as a reminder.