A U.S. police officer, who’s shooting of a black man was broadcast on Facebook Live by his girlfriend, has been found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.
Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last year- sparking nationwide protests over the use of force by police, CNN reports.
The incident only came a day after two police officers fatally shot another black man, Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana- who will also face no federal charges over his death.
— Jennifer Mayerle (@jennifermayerle) July 7, 2016
Outside the court, his mother Valerie Castile said:
The system continues to fail black people. My son loved this city and this city killed my son and the murderer gets away! Are you kidding me right now? We’re not evolving as a civilization, we’re devolving. We’re going back down to 1969. What is it going to take?
Jurors deliberated for 27 hours over the incident in where Yanez pulled over a car driven by Castile, 32, who was with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her 4-year-old daughter at the time.
An audio recording captured Castile telling Yanez he had a gun in his car, and the officer telling him not to reach for it. Only second laters Yanez fired seven shots at the car.
Prosecutors claimed Yanez was a nervous officer who lost control of his traffic stop and was too quick to pull the trigger after learning Castile had a gun, based on an unreasonable suspicion that he was a robbery suspect.
Yanez testified that he feared for his life because Castile put his hand on his firearm. “I didn’t want to shoot Mr. Castile. That wasn’t my intention. I thought I was going to die,” he said.
But even when Castile was bleeding heavily in the Facebook video he managed to say he wasn’t reaching for his gun, which he had a permit to carry.
His girlfriend added that he was reaching for his ID in his back pocket when he was shot.
Castile’s issued a statement shortly after the verdict, saying:
He [Castile] did nothing but comply with Officer Yanez’s instructions to get his driver’s license. He was seat belted and doing as he was told, when he was shot by Officer Yanez who fired seven shots into the vehicle where my daughter and I also sat. It is a sad state of affairs when this type of criminal conduct is condoned simply because Yanez is a policeman. God help America.