Jun 20 2017 by Desiree Burns
Jeronimo Yanez took the stand on Friday to explain why a routine traffic stop turned deadly last summer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria worker, had a permit for the weapon and prosecutors have sought to portray him as being cooperative when he volunteered to Yanez early during the stop, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me". He is now facing second-degree manslaughter charges as well as two counts of reckless discharge of a firearm after he fatally shot Castile seven times.
The state rested its case against Yanez on Thursday morning.
"I was scared to death". "My family was popping up in my head. My wife. My baby girl". Officer Kauser. I was concerned about the front seat passenger.
"I don't know if I would characterize it as unpredictable", Hardin said.
"I had no other choice".
According to the transcripts of the video of the incident, Castile responded by saying, "I'm not reaching for it". "I did not want to shoot Mr. Castile at all", he replied. "Those were not my intentions".
Dusterhoft asked Yanez to go back prior to the shooting from his prospective. He testified that he stopped Castile's auto after Castile drove past him and gave him a "deer in the headlights" look that made him suspicious. He did not contact dispatch.
He said he smelled marijuana as he walked up to Castile's Oldsmobile. He also saw Castile in a seatbelt. Key issues are where Castile's gun was and whether Yanez saw it.
The officer was already on alert after the convenience store robbery and Castile looked like one of the robbery suspects.
Officer Juan Toran of the Roseville Police Department who had arrived on scene, gave CPR to Castile for about two minutes, he said. Castile "had total disregard for my commands", he said. Prosecutors say the officer acted unreasonably in shooting Castile.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension noted that one of the bullets fired into the vehicle hit the arm rest near where Reynolds was seated.
Kapelsohn says if Yanez believed he saw a gun, he was justified to shoot.
He said the inconsistencies in his statements to the BCA were due to him "trying to fumble my way through stress".
After Yanez asked for his license and registration, Castile informed the officer that he had a gun.
But after a brief recess, Leary sided with Yanez's attorneys and sustained their objections to the request. Yanez said it was implied. "Why did he have to reach for it?"
At times, the 29-year-old Latino man wiped his eyes with a tissue as defense attorney Tom Kelly asked him questions.
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Yanez did not give such instructions though.
The footage shows Yanez screaming in the aftermath: "I told him not to reach for it!" However, that portion of the video wasn't played.
Kapelsohn testified that he did a similar experiment in April inside Castile's actual vehicle and testified that the gun was within 1/8 of an inch from the pocket's opening even without pulling it out.
When the traffic stop happened, Castile had told Yanez that he had a weapon, an audio recording of the encounter reveals, and Yanez told him not to reach for it. Seconds later, Yanez opened fire.
The defense called an expert Thursday who testified that Yanez used "justifiable deadly force" in shooting Castile, who had informed him that he was carrying a gun. Kapelson testified earlier that he believed Yanez used reasonable force.
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.
A use-of-force expert says a Minnesota police officer used reasonable force when he shot and killed a black motorist previous year in the seconds after the motorist told him he was carrying a gun.
Brad Parks reported from St. Paul.
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.
On cross examination, the prosecution attempted to show the jury that Kapelsohn is nationally known for testifying in favor of officers, and only has one case in the last 28 months in which he is working for the prosecution in a criminal case against an officer.
He also purchased the same dark pair of Ralph Lauren shorts worn by Castile during the shooting. He removed the gun and placed it on the ground.
Based on Kapelsohn's estimation, the movement takes three-tenths of a second.
Kapelsohn couched his opinion by saying ultimately it would be up to the jury to decide if Yanez was telling the truth about actually seeing Castile's hand on the gun during the traffic stop.
The defense maintains that Castile was reaching for his gun despite Yanez's repeated commands not to.
Jurors heard testimony from several witnesses this week and are expected to begin deliberations Monday after final arguments.
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