ST. PAUL, Minn. - A jury on Friday found a Minnesota police officer not guilty of manslaughter in the death of a black motorist, reports CBS Minnesota.
Defense attorneys contend the 29-year-old Latino officer was scared for his life and was justified in shooting 32-year-old Philando Castile. Yanez shot Castile five times last July during a traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb, just seconds after Castile informed him he was carrying a gun.
Prosecutors insist Yanez never saw a gun and had plenty of options short of shooting Castile, an elementary school cafeteria worker they say was never a threat.
The jury was handed the case on Monday. On Tuesday, jurors requested another look at dashcam video captured by Officer Jeronimo Yanez's squad car that shows the shooting of Castile. On Wednesday, the judge told jurors to continue deliberating Wednesday afternoon, indicating they may have been struggling to reach a verdict.
The squad-car video shows a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting, with the camera pointed toward Castile's car. While it captures what was said between the two men and shows Yanez firing into the vehicle, it does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez might have seen.
The squad-car video shows Yanez approaching Castile's car and asking for a driver's license and proof of insurance. Castile appears to give something to Yanez through the driver's side window. Castile is then heard saying, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me." Before Castile finishes that sentence, Yanez has his hand on his own gun and is pulling it out of the holster. There is shouting, and Yanez screams "Don't pull it out!" before he fires seven shots into the car.
The jury also watched a replay of the video that Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, livestreamed on Facebook beginning seconds after Castile had been shot.
The 12-member jury included two blacks. The rest are white. None is Latino.
Reynolds' video of the gruesome aftermath of the shooting was shared widely, and included her statements that Castile hadn't been reaching for his gun. Castile had a permit for the weapon. Defense attorneys highlighted inconsistencies in Reynolds' statements to investigators to try to raise doubts about her honesty.