Philando Castile was shot and killed by then-police officer Jeronimo Yanez on July 6, 2016. Yanez was criminally charged in Castile’s death – it was the first time in Minnesota an officer had gone to trial over such charges.
On Friday, June 16, a jury found Yanez not guilty of any charge – one count of mansluaghter, two counts of recklessly discharging his gun.
Here’s a look at some of the reaction following the verdict.
Valerie Castile (Philando Castile’s mother)
Valerie Castile spoke outside the courthouse following the decision, expressing both anger and disappointment and using the term “murdered” to describe how her son was killed.
“I am so very very very very very very very disappointed in the system here in the state of Minnesota, because nowhere in the world do you die from being honest and telling the truth,” she continued. She also described a “systemic problem” in Minnesota, but hoped for “justice” in this case.
“But nevertheless … the system continues to fail black people, and it will continue to fail you all,” she said.
“My son loved this state. He had one tattoo on his body and it was the Twin Cities … My son loved this city, and this city killed my son,” she continued. “Are you kidding me right now? We’re not evolving as a civilization, we’re devolving. … What is it going to take? I’m mad as hell right now, yes I am. My first-born one son died here in Minnesota.”
Valerie Castile also uploaded a 2-minutes video to Facebook, where she says in part, “F– what they’re talking about … I’ve been holding myself trying to be strong and not say the wrong things because I already know how they get down. I’m 61 years old. I’ve seen it, I’ve smelled it, I heard it.” The video is unedited.
Allysza Castile, Philando Castile’s sister
“I know my brother. My brother would never ever put Diamond in danger, or Dae’Anne in danger,” Allysza Castile said outside the courthouse. “Because he loved that little girl, and he loved this state, and I am really just so hurt, because … he took away something so precious from me. That was my bro, that was my mentor, that was my father-figure, that was my everything.”
She finished by saying: “He didn’t deserve to die the way he did, and I will never have faith in this system.”
Diamond Reynolds, Philando Castile’s girlfriend
Diamond Reynolds, who livestreamed Castile’s death after he’d been shot, released a statement saying she’s “incredibly disappointed” in the verdict.
“He was seatbelted and doing as he was told when he was shot by Officer Yanez, who fired seven shots into the vehicle where my 4-year-old daughter and I also sat. It’s a sad state of affairs when this type of criminal conduct is condoned simply because Yanez is a policeman. God help America.”
Gov. Mark Dayton
Dayton expressed his condolences to everyone affected, and called Castile’s death “a terrible tragedy, with devastating consequences for everyone involved. I will continue to do all I can to help our state heal.”
He also acknowledged the “thousands of law enforcement officers, who courageously risk their lives to protect our communities,” as well as the people “working to correct the injustices in our state.”
“I believe that, working together, we can make the changes necessary to secure both safety and justice, in all of our communities, for all Minnesotans,” he concluded.
American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota
The ACLU said the Yanez verdict “does not negate the fact that Philando Castile’s tragic death is part of a disturbing national pattern of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters.”
They continued: “Philando Castile was one of 1,092 individuals killed by the police in 2016. Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable. While many officers carry out their jobs with respect for the communities they serve, we must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement.”
Nekima Levy-Pounds, Minneapolis mayoral candidate
I can't right now…. Yanez was found Not Guilty. This is a travesty of justice.
— Nekima Levy-Pounds (@nvlevy) June 16, 2017
I feel such sadness and grief right now. Our gov't leaders ought to be ashamed of this monster of a system they created. #Philando
— Nekima Levy-Pounds (@nvlevy) June 16, 2017
Levy-Pounds is also a civil rights lawyer, served as head of the Minneapolis NAACP, and was an adviser to Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.
St. Paul Public Schools
Yanez was a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill elementary school in St. Paul.
The district put out a statement calling Yanez’s death “a tragedy that impacts many people, and lives in our community were forever changed.
“The Saint Paul Public Schools community continues to remember and mourn the loss of ‘Mr. Phil,’ a beloved SPPS employee. School district counselors will be available to talk with students and staff as needed once summer term begins on June 19.”
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi
Choi, who took the decision to charge Yanez out of the hands of a grand jury and made the choice himself, spoke about the verdict at 5 p.m.
“Obviously today we’re disappointed with verdict,” he said. “I can’t even imagine for what this must feel like for Castile’s family, friends. … I’m not the only one disappointed.”
Choi added the prosecution team did good work, and said the case was about Yanez and Castile specifically, not police conduct as a whole. He also called for peaceful protests.
Choi: "we have to accept this verdict. … [the jury's] decision must be respected."
— Melissa Turtinen (@MelissaTurtinen) June 16, 2017
Thinking of the boy I met last year who said Philando Castile was his best friend because he was the nicest person in his school. For shame: https://t.co/hNj27NzIL7
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 16, 2017