The Minnesota officer on trial for the police-involved shooting death of a 32-year-old Black motorist has been acquitted.
CNN reports that Jeronimo Yanez was declared innocent of second-degree manslaughter in the July 6, 2016 shooting death of Philando Castile. He was also cleared of two counts of intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety.
Castile died after being pulled over in Falcon Heights, Minn., a suburb of St. Paul.
His death garnered national attention after his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds recorded the incident via Facebook Live.
At the time of the shooting, Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughterw were also in the car.
During the two-week trial, prosecutors argued that Yanez was a
nervous officer who lost control of his traffic stop. They portrayed him as being too quick to pull the trigger after learning Castile had a gun—one he was legally permitted to carry.
During his testimony, Yanez said he feared for his life because Castile reached for his weapon.
Just last month, jurors acquitted Tulsa, Okla. police officer Betty Shelby of manslaughter in the fatal shooting death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, an unarmed 40-year-old Black man, last September.
Recently, Shelby was awarded $35,000 in back pay for time
missed during the investigation.
The Yanez jury deliberated for roughly 29 hours before making a
decision regarding the officer’s fate.