Jury Selection Process Continues In Officer Yanez Trial

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The trial of the St. Anthony police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile at a traffic stop last summer is pressing on in Ramsey County.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez is charged with manslaughter in Castile’s death on July 6, 2016. Prosecutors say Yanez, who is Latino, shot the 32-year-old cafeteria worker after Castile said he had a gun. The defense says Yanez was acting in self-defense.

On Wednesday morning, the jury selection process continued in the trial as 49 potential jurors were questioned in person by attorneys. During the proceedings, some of Castile’s family members, including his mother, Valerie Castile, were sitting in the front of the courtroom.

Many of the questions asked by the attorneys were typical, about the potential jurors’ education, work experience and hobbies. However, a significant portion of the questions focused on their experience with firearms, law enforcement and race.

Four jurors were dismissed Wednesday from the case, bringing the total number of dismissed jurors to five. On Tuesday, one juror was dismissed because she was related to Yanez.

So far, fives jurors have been cleared to enter the pool to possibly serve. One is a black man, a high school graduate and a manager of a Wendy’s. He told the attorneys that he’s never picked up a gun or had any prior experience with law enforcement.

The other jurors cleared were an older white woman who manages a Holiday gas station, an older white man who is a sheet metal worker with a permit to carry, a middle-aged white man who lives near the scene of the shooting, and a older white man who is a gun owner and a hunter.

Once the pool is complete, attorneys will be able to select from that pool to make a jury of 15, which includes 3 alternates.

If the jury is not finalized by the end of the week, then the process will start over again Monday with 50 additional jurors. On Thursday, 20 potential jurors will be returning to the courtroom.

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